Treatment and care

Capacity

Treatment and care should take into account the needs and preferences of people living with dementia.

There should be the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with their families and healthcare professionals.

If a person lacks the capacity to decide who should and should not be involved, healthcare professionals must act in their best interests, bearing in mind the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Healthcare professionals should also take into account the views of carers and relatives when planning treatment and care.

Care in hospital

Having a relative who is experiencing dementia and is in hospital can be a worrying time for families and friends.

At The Whittington Hospital many staff have received training in dementia awareness and have the skills to care for people experiencing dementia.

We are also using several approaches to help improve care for people with dementia whilst they are in hospital.

Flexible visiting

There are flexible visiting times for family and friends who care for people with dementia on our care of older people wards.

This enables family and friends to remain involved in the care of their relative, as they can visit to provide support at key points during the day such as mealtimes.

This is me

The 'this is me’ booklet offers a practical way of informing staff about the needs, preferences, likes, dislikes and interests of a person experiencing dementia.
 
This is particularly useful if the patient is not able to fully communicate their own needs, and family and friends are not available to speak for them. The booklet can be filled in by the patient, with close family or friends, or completed with staff.

'This is me' includes details about the person’s background and life history, for example work, family, interests, hobbies and achievements. Knowing and understanding the person better can enhance the standard of care provided by staff.

‘This is Me’ can be of particular use when healthcare professionals are coming into contact with a person experiencing dementia for the first time, or when the person is in a new setting, such as a hospital.
 
Alzheimer's Society have produced a factsheet with ideas about information that is useful to share with staff.

Forget me not scheme

We are piloting the forget me not scheme on our care of older people wards.
 
The forget me not scheme improves patient safety and wellbeing by helping staff to recognise when someone is experiencing memory problems or confusion due to dementia or delirium.
 
Using the forget me not scheme will help staff communicate more effectively with people experiencing dementia and to respond appropriately to their care needs. The forget me not scheme encourages staff to take more time when speaking with patients who have difficulty understanding information and offer additional help, or support with activities where needed such as eating, washing, dressing and being accompanied off the ward.

The scheme uses a blue forget me not symbol to identify that a person is experiencing cognitive impairment or acute confusion through dementia or delirium.
 
This includes:
  • A blue forget me not image (magnet or sticker) placed above or behind the patient’s bed and on the patient information board
  • Whilst in hospital, patients being offered the opportunity to wear a blue wristband so that hospital staff can recognise they have specific needs due to cognitive impairment or acute confusion
  • The electronic patient records being flagged to ensure staff are aware that the patient is experiencing cognitive impairment (this flag can be removed for those patients whose cognition or acute confusion improves following treatment)
  • Forget me not is an opt-in scheme and patients and their families can choose whether or not to participate
How the forget me not scheme can help you
 
If you are experiencing dementia hospital staff will:
  • Make sure you know who they are, what is happening and what they are doing. They will explain this again if needed.
  • Speak to you clearly and simply to make sure you understand as much information as possible
  • Offer information and reassurance as often as needed to make sure you feel safe and secure
  • Provide support and help where needed, but will encourage you to care for yourself where possible and to be independent
  • Include your close family and friends in your care. This is so your close family and friends can make sure staff are aware of your likes and dislikes and personal wishes about the care you receive in hospital
If I am experiencing dementia do I have to be part of the scheme?
 
No, you do not have to be part of the forget me not scheme. You or your family can opt-out of the scheme if you would prefer.
Working on it!