Help is at hand in dementia care hub

Staff at the Knowing Me Carers Hub at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, which will help people caring for someone with dementia find out where to go to access support and advice from groups such as Carers Support West Sussex, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer's Society
Staff at the Knowing Me Carers Hub at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, which will help people caring for someone with dementia find out where to go to access support and advice from groups such as Carers Support West Sussex, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer's Society

PEOPLE caring for dementia sufferers can get a helping hand, thanks to a new service.

A carers’ hub at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester offers weekly drop-in sessions to give extra support to people caring for a loved one with dementia.

The scheme, run by the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, gives advice on how to access expert help regarding emotional support, finances or respite care.

“We know that a growing number of our patients have a dementia, and we know that this trend will continue – we have to find new ways of making sure we give them the best possible care, and that includes helping their carers too,” said matron Katrina O’Shea.

“The patient may only be looked after by our staff for a short time, but the carer has a responsibility around the clock, every day. They have an enormously demanding role, and so it is essential that we do what we can to help – that support is crucial both for the carer, and the person they care for.”

Caring for people with dementia is a growing challenge for hospitals, as up to one in four of all inpatients are now believed to have dementia. It is a priority for staff to give these patients – and those who care for them – the best possible support.

The Knowing Me Carers Hub will offer people caring for someone with a dementia find out where to go to access support and advice from groups such as Carers Support West Sussex, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, and is on offer in Worthing Hospital as well as St Richard’s.

Weekly drop-in events are run at St Richard’s between 3-4pm on Tuesdays in the Terrace Restaurant.

Specialist dementia nurses and occupational therapy staff have been employed by the trust which runs both hospitals, as well as Southlands in Shoreham, and a team of volunteers has been recruited to support ward staff to give the best possible care.

Staff and volunteers can now use activity boxes on the wards - full of games, images and music from the past – to help the patients to be stimulated, engaged, and comforted. The boxes were paid for by the Friends of Chichester Hospitals.

The Knowing Me Carers Hub, which was launched during Dementia Awareness Week, will be run by Trust staff and volunteers (many of whom are, or have been, carers themselves).