Wakefield hospital opens new family rooms to support patients with dementia

As part of its ongoing efforts to support patients with dementia and their families, Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, part of the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has created six new, specially designed family support rooms to enable families to stay together at times of greatest need.

Anita Ruckledge, Lead Dementia Nurse at the Mid-Yorkshire Trust, explains in an article for The Guardian, that the idea for the new rooms came from the desire to make the hospital less scary for confused and vulnerable patients, particularly those with cognitive impairment or at a palliative-care stage of their life.

Overwhelmingly, families want to stay with their loved one at the end of their life and yet historically there has been no provision made for families or carers of vulnerable patients in order to do this. Family sleep-over rooms are based on each floor level in the hospital, but these are separate and unattached to the patient. Feedback from families showed that they would much prefer to be physically close to their loved ones, to provide personal comfort, touch and support; to be there together at this time of need.

This ideal was made real and tangible with the implementation of six beautiful family-support suites across three elderly care wards at the hospital.

Anita Ruckledge 
Lead Dementia Nurse

Anita Ruckledge with Julia Jones at the official opening of the rooms in August

Supporting John's Campaign

Pinderfields is one of 126 hospitals to have already pledged their support to John's Campaign - the campaign to give carers (particularly family) the right to stay with someone with dementia if they are admitted to hospital..24/7 if necessary.

Earlier in the year the hospital introduced Carers Passports  to encourage greater interaction between staff and carers when caring for people with dementia. The passport allows a named carer to visit outside normal visiting hours, provide assistance with personal care, be actively involved in discussions about care, treatment and discharge, and to support when their loved one is having investigations, such as X-rays or blood tests in other parts of the hospital.

The family support rooms are an extension of this initiative, allowing carers the opportunity to stay beside their loved one overnight if necessary. The rooms have been designed to create a restful and therapeutic environment, more like a home than a hospital. Each room has a TV and DVD for entertainment and music, a comfortable recliner chair and a fold away bed. 

The hospital was visited in August by Julia Jones, one of the co-founders of John's Campaign, who officially opened the rooms. 

Positive feedback from carers

One family expressed gratitude that their father had been able to watch his favourite opera singer right up to the last minutes until he died, while another summed up their experience...

“We were able to stay with our father day and night, in a lovely, peaceful and calming environment which allowed us, as a family, to give our father the support he needed at a difficult and emotional time. This time was very precious to us all.”

Click here to read the full article in The Guardian 16/10/15

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  • 20 October 2015