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Booklet piloted to help hospital staff improve dementia care


Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is piloting a new booklet to provide better dementia care in its hospitals.

It is hoped that the About Me booklet will help staff to communicate appropriately with people with dementia, helping to reduce any feelings of agitation or distress.

The booklet is filled out and given to staff when a patient goes onto a ward. It is intended to provide a “snapshot” of the person, helping staff to learn about their habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes.

The initiative is based on what staff and carers have told the trust would help them to respond to the needs of dementia patients.

Dementia practitioner Margaret Meixner said: “Staff can sometimes find it difficult to engage and care for people with dementia. We hope ‘About me’ will support staff to provide the best possible quality of care, by helping them to get to know the individual and understand their needs.”

Initially, the booklet will be used on elderly care, and trauma and orthopaedics wards at the trust’s Heartlands and Good Hope Hospital for a three month period. If successful, it will then be rolled out across all the trust’s sites as part of its new dementia and delirium strategy. 

The Birmingham trust has estimated that one in four patients within its bed occupancy have dementia or confusion, or both.



Readers' comments (6)

  • this is not new many hospitals have successfully introduced this into every day practice for many years now. if you are going to report on developments in nursing practice, at least make sure that they are not historical ones.

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  • Absolutely. We have been using them in the nursing home where I work for years now. Yes, I said nursing home. We are often more pro active than many NHS hospitals but of course the public take more notice of the media bashing that is given to nursing homes.

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  • The first edition of 'About Me' appeared in 2010 and was a joint effort between the RCN and the Alzheimer's Society.

    As you will see if you follow this link:

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  • Someone is getting credit for something we have been doing in nursing and residential homes for years...

    Always bad press for the private sector and yet sometimes we are way ahead!!!!!

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  • Booklets like this are commendable but the information is not quickly accessible to all staff members in the way our charts make possible. Hospitals are starting to use our Twist-N-View charts which hang on the wall for instant access to information whilst maintaining confidentiality, and our Pocket Charts enable care homes or families to fill it in so the information is available immediately on admission, and can stand on the bedside.

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  • This kind of booklet or a Twist-N-View chart is a good idea. However, when I was caring for my mother, I looked at the 'About Me' booklet mentioned above and I felt that it was very limited. It was also too prescriptive: it didn't give space for some of the things I felt that carers and nurses needed to know about my mother and emphasised other things that I didn't think were particularly helpful.

    Detailed knowledge is needed to help someone properly: all the little likes and dislikes they have developed over years, what they enjoy in life. It also helps if nurses and carers know about someone as an individual - what work they did, their hobbies etc., so it's easier to see them as what they used to be as well as what they are now. I hope the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and others will take all these things into consideration.

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