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Dementia Matters

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Are you working with patients with dementia? Joni’s “Dementia Matters” card helps healthcare professionals improve the care they provide

As the UK population ages the number of people with dementia is naturally increasing too, and it is essential that healthcare professionals have the skills and knowledge to care for this often neglected group of patients.

As a third year student nurse, I have always had a keen interest in dementia care. Through caring for people with dementia I have become concerned that high-quality care is often lacking in acute settings. Often this is due to issues such as staffing levels and time constraints but all too often I have witnessed a lack of knowledge and understanding.

After seeing a need to highlight essential aspects of dementia care, I created the “Dementia Matters” acronym card, which displays details of local and national support networks available to healthcare professionals. The card has been produced by the Worcestershire NHS Trust and is to be made available to all staff.  It will also be used at inductions and dementia awareness events.

Before I started this project, I didn’t realise just how much support there is available to healthcare professionals who work alongside this vulnerable group of people and feel that this network should be highlighted and promoted at every available opportunity.

People with dementia often feel stressed and anxious during their hospital stay, therefore healthcare professionals need to feel confident responding to them, providing reassurance, safety and support. Person centered care that promotes and maintains dignity and respect is absolutely essential.

This is what inspired me to create the acronym card.

It is everyone’s responsibility, from housekeeping staff through to consultants, to ensure that a high-quality and appropriate service is delivered. I hope that this card will provide quick and easy access to valuable resources, while encouraging others to fill any gaps that they may find in the delivery of high quality care.

Joni Breen is a third year nursing student at University of Worcester

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