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Dementia Care Initiative Wins National Patient Safety Award

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A joint initiative between the University of Worcester and the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital Trust to improve care for patients with dementia in acute hospitals has won a national award.

The project came top in the Patient Safety in Clinical Care category of the Patient Safety Awards 2012. The awards recognise excellence in patient safety and identify the best initiatives that can be shared across the health service, and the Patient Safety in Clinical Care category recognises organisations that have successfully introduced a specific patient safety initiative into an area of clinical practice and have seen incidents of actual or potential harm to patients significantly reduced as a result. 

The University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies worked with the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital Trust to devise a programme to improve services for patients with dementia who are admitted to New Cross Hospital with a physical illness. It was introduced in December 2010 and focuses on the hospital environment, nutrition and hydration, and communication.  Professor Brooker worked with the senior team at New cross for a day a week over an 18 month period to develop this new way of working known as a Dementia Care Bundle.

The University also provided an education programme for staff to care for patients with dementia, and helped to develop person centred care plans.

As a result of the programme, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients discharged home, a rise in the number of patients who gain weight while in hospital, a halving of the number of patients falling, and a significant improvement in the levels of patient staff and visitor satisfaction.

Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the project has been recognised in this way. This is a really important development in improving the care and treatment of patients with dementia in our hospitals. There has been a lot of bad press around hospital care for patients with dementia. This programme proves that hospital can be a really positive experience if the right approach is taken”

David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted that the excellent work we have done to improve services for patients with dementia has received national recognition in the Patient Safety Awards.

“The award not only recognises the significant effect that the re-designed service has had on patients, but is also a tribute to the hard work and dedication of staff who have embraced the changes and who make a real difference to the lives of the patients in our care.”