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Joni Rewarded for Innovative Dementia Care Project

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A University of Worcester Nursing student has been recognised for her work to improve dementia care by the British Journal of Nursing.

Third-year student Joni Breen took home third prize in the Elderly Care Nurse of the Year category at the organisation’s recent awards; the only student to win an award on the night.

The accolade was in recognition of the development of a ‘Dementia Matters’ card, which was designed by Joni to raise the standards of dementia care, and is now distributed at all Worcestershire NHS Trust staff inductions and dementia training events.

The credit-card sized document is in the format of an acronym, and sets out ‘golden rules’ for the treatment of those living with the condition.

Joni explains: “As the UK has such an ageing population, the number of people with dementia is naturally increasing too, so it’s essential that healthcare professionals have the skills and knowledge to care for this often-neglected group of patients.

“People with dementia often feel stressed and anxious during their hospital stay, therefore healthcare professionals need to feel confident in responding to them; providing reassurance, safety and support while maintaining dignity and respect.

“This is what inspired me to create the acronym card; to highlight the essential aspects of care and to display local and national details of the support network available.”

The card was backed by Genette Edmonds, Dementia Lead at the Worcestershire NHS Trust, and following further support from Julie Smith, editor of the British Journal of Nursing, was put forward for consideration at the awards, which were held at London’s Swan Underglobe last month.

After collecting her award, Joni added: “I was really delighted and honoured to receive the award. It’s very rewarding to see the Dementia Card out in practice, and hopefully having a positive impact on the experience of patients with dementia.”

Jo Rouse, Programme Lead for Pre-Registration Nursing at the University of Worcester, said: “The pre-registration nursing team are delighted with Joni’s achievement. Joni was the only student nurse to receive an award, thus recognising the impact her dementia awareness cards have had within nursing practice.

“In developing the dementia awareness card, Joni has demonstrated her commitment to effective partnership working within the University and local Trust Partners, specifically Worcestershire NHS trust, to ensure quality of nursing care for patients with dementia and their families.”

Lindsey Webb, Chief Nursing Officer at Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust added: “The nursing team at Worcestershire Acute are delighted for Joni. We are very impressed by the work that she has done to improve care for patients.

“This is a great example of how we can work with our partners at the University of Worcester to support our nurses of the future in delivering care that is truly inspiring, caring and compassionate.”