A leading women’s organisation has called for NHS hospitals to routinely provide facilities so that carers can spend time with patients with dementia outside of visiting hours.
Members of the Women’s Institute passed a resolution to campaign for “appropriate care” in hospitals for patients with dementia.
In practice, the institute said this could mean hospitals “welcoming” carers outside of normal visiting hours, providing family rooms to enable carers to stay or “any other provision that would practically allow carers to spend time in hospital wards”.
“Wards should be adapting their practices to better accommodate the needs of their patients that have dementia,” stated the motion, which was passed at the institute’s annual meeting in Brighton on Saturday.
Janice Langley, chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “Whilst many hospitals in the UK have made great progress towards becoming dementia-friendly, there is evidence that this is not the case across the board and as a result, people with dementia are suffering.
WI calls for better hospital care for dementia
“This campaign will see WI members looking at their own local hospitals to encourage positive progress, and highlight where improvements are needed,” she said.
“Members have a long history as agents of change within their communities and this campaign will see them stepping forward once again to call for action for some of the most vulnerable,” she added.
A spokeswoman for the institute said 74% of delegates at the meeting voted to support the resolution calling for appropriate care in hospitals for all people with dementia.
As a result, it will now become one of the campaigning focuses for around 220,000 WI members across England, Wales and the islands.
A handful of trusts have already recently changed their policies on visiting hours, including Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London.
- Birmingham trust introduces open visiting hours across all hospitals
- Carers gain 24/7 access to dementia patients with nurse-designed ‘passport’
- Derbyshire hospital trials extended visiting hours
The WI resolution:
“We call upon HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that have been admitted into hospital.”