Problem Patients with dementia can sometimes respond better treatment when they are closely supported by a carer such as a specific family member but that is sometimes difficult to accommodate.

Impact Carers who want to come more often into hospital want to assist, patients welcome their assistance and staff would benefit from that help. Staff also need to make sure that the ward remains a controlled environment that offers the best care to all patients at all times. Carers who can only visit during set hours or feel their perspective isn’t being acknowledged can be frustrated if they feel they could do more.

Idea To create a carer’s passport that provides details of the main carer and gives them greater access to assist in providing care. The carer’s passport opens up hospital wards to carers of patients living with Alzheimer’s or one of the other forms of dementia and has been adopted successfully at other hospitals.

Benefits The passport will make it easier for ward staff to identify and interact with carers. Carers with passports can access the wards at all times. There is substantial evidence that seeing a recognisable face is reassuring for patients with dementia, dementia patients will feel more secure and cared for. Length of stay is likely to reduce as better settled patients are more able to transfer to less acute settings and more settled patients are less likely to suffer a fall.

Liz Charalambous, Nurse, Katie Moore, Head of PPI, Dr.Clare Dieppe, Consultant, Helen Chilton, Sister