As many people are now living beyond what was once considered a normal life span, there is an increasing awareness of age-related mental health problems, dementia being uppermost
The problem has recently been brought to the attention of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire and the Derby-based Spencer Lodge No. 8773 to seek their practical help in assisting hospital clinical staff. The notice was brought by Mrs Val Haylett, recently appointed to the position of Hospital Governor for the City of Derby, and who retired from the NHS in 2014 after 26 years working at the Royal Derby Hospital.
Whilst attending last year, at a meeting during which radiology staff explained the frequent difficulties of encouraging anxious dementia patients to enter the tunnel of a MRI scanner, Val spoke of her practical experience and how she had witnessed distressed children in A&E departments and on wards, effectively comforted by being given a teddy bear. She suggested that they might well prove useful for distressed adult dementia patients.
Hitherto essentially for children, the teddy bears are regularly given to hospitals throughout Derbyshire by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity and recently it gave the county’s hospitals the 50,000th teddy through the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme.
Responding readily to the dementia-related request, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity set aside a sum of £1,000 to provide for supplies of TLC bears over a trial period of 12 months. These will be used for dementia patients at the London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby Hospital and outpatient departments.
A larger sum of £1,500 has also been presented directly from Spencer Lodge to the hospital for the purchase of more expensive and proven comforting aids, specifically for dementia patients.
Proof that the use of dolls and bears can bring great benefits to some dementia-diagnosed patients, particularly those in the latter stages, is supported by the charity Dementia UK through its Admiral Nursing section. It has been shown that simply giving a patient a doll to hold can be comforting and enjoyable, and possibly improve their verbal communication ability.
RMBI care home Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court, Mid Glamorgan, has recently opened a new Dementia Support Unit. The unit was created when ten unused rooms on the first floor were refurbished and modernised for residential use. Residents were then moved from the ground floor up to the newly refurbished rooms. The ten ground-floor rooms were then refurbished to create the dementia support unit.
The unit is tastefully decorated with furnishings bringing colour and brightness into the rooms. Soft furnishings such as cushions and throws with different textures have been incorporated because the stimulation of the senses is particularly therapeutic for those who have dementia.
The unit boasts two lounges: one includes music facilities and a television and the other is a relaxation lounge. Both lounges are set up to give a warm homely atmosphere. The kitchen area allows residents to see what food is available at meal times and they are able to choose what they would like to eat.
The doors to each bedroom are designed to look like a person’s own front door, with a colour and a number that the resident chooses or relates to maybe from their own home. All the bedrooms also include en-suite wet rooms.
The unit, though new, is fully occupied and the residents are very comfortable and happy in their new dwellings. The unit will now allow the home to provide specialist dementia care to the local masonic community and also to continue to provide care to those residents whose needs change to requiring specialist support while living at the home.