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Carers gain 24/7 access to dementia patients with nurse-designed 'passport'


Visiting hours restrictions have been lifted for carers of patients with dementia at a large trust in London, following the introduction of a “passport” designed by nurses.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust nurses are now handing out cards – known as “carer’s passports” – to carers of vulnerable patients or people with dementia across all of the organisation’s five hospitals. The card allows them to visit whenever they want.

Designed by clinical nurse specialists Bethany Cotton and Marcelle Tauber, the business-card-sized “passports” are being accompanied by posters displayed outside each ward, welcoming carers and stating the trust’s wish to work closely with them.

“The carer’s passports are a simple way to ensure that carers can work in partnership with us and improve our most vulnerable patients’s experiences”

Jo James

The trust said traditional hospital visiting times did not allow carers to carry out their “important role” in helping vulnerable patients with “everyday life experiences” and hoped this new initiative would improve patients’ time in hospital.

“As a trust we have always been innovators and the carer’s passports are a simple way to ensure that carers can work in partnership with our hospitals and improve the experience of our most vulnerable patients,” said Jo James, lead dementia nurse at the trust.

The new policy has been supported by the patient group John’s Campaign, which is calling on the government to ensure all hospitals allow families and carers of people with dementia to visit them at any time of the day.




Readers' comments (14)

  • brilliant idea

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  • michael stone

    I like this - it is a move towards breaking down inappropriate professional-lay 'barriers'. And I think it makes a great deal of sense, for dementia patients.

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  • This is long overdue. I only hope it's rolled out across the entire NHS.

    When I tried to stay overnight with my clearly-dying mother - a dementia sufferer - in a community hospital eight years ago, the police were called to remove me. She died alone, behind drawn curtains at 9 the next morning. The staff admitted they knew she was dying but it wasn't "hospital policy" to allow visitors in before 2pm so no one called me till after she was dead.

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  • I'll never complain about the US visiting hours again! 11am-8pm in most hospitals. Most of the better nursing homes have no restrictions and are flexible (I spend the night in my Grandmothers room the night before she passed, with the blessings of the staff...). When did the hospital take over ownership of our loved ones?

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  • A lovely idea, however I sincerely hope this is not a 'back door' way of abrogating the duty of care for the dementia sufferer in hospital. Remember some of these carers never get a day or night off at all. Surely we don't begrudge them a little break while secure in the knowledge that their loved one is having their personal needs met.

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    I am shocked to read that families are not welcome in the hospitals in this day and age and one posted that the police were contacted to evict a daughter who wished to stay with her dying mother overnight, this is totally unacceptable. The "NEW" initiative needs to be rolled out across the NHS.

    I worked for most of my career in Intensive Care. We had open visiting in 1984, the wards followed over the next two years.

    Relative's were welcome at any time and children visited after consultation with the parents.

    Communication in ITU like DEMENTIA CARE is very difficult, family and friends are essential to their care and in helping the nurse's know about them I:e their likes and dislikes.

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  • I agree with the above and some relatives and friends like to participate in patients' care. not only has this benefits for everyone concerned but may also help reduce accusations of neglect and poor care. how can this be if in restricted visiting and especially in this day and age of 24/7 where people work of have family or other duties and may not be available during visiting hours imposed upon them. as for limiting visits to those with dementia or other mh problems and very sick patients and denying somebody access to a dying relative or friend, what remains to be said?
    it seems bosses rules have been allowed to overtake professional discretion and common sense.

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  • Re Lilly44.How awful that situation must have been for Lilly and what on earth were those people thinking of quoting hospital policy blah blah blah.When I hear things like this I really wonder what type of spineless individuals we employ to look after other humans.

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  • michael stone

    Lily44 | 2-Mar-2015 4:31 pm

    That is both appalling and also totally-out-of-order: NOBODY - anywhere ! - should prevent a person from staying with a loved-one who is believed to be 'dying within hours'.

    It is very important, to not do that type of thing - however, there has been a lot of work on end-of-life during the past 8 years: I hope [but I am not sure] that would not happen, now.

    In fact, I'll ask Bee Wee by e-mail (the NHS England end-of-life clinical lead) if she is any more sure than I am, that it wouldn't happen now (Bee is absurdly busy, but if she gets round to answering, I think she will say what I have said (I would hope it wouldn't happen, and I wouldn't expect it to happen now').

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  • stone chipping in yet again!

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