Going to Hospital
Currently around 40% of patients over 75 who are admitted to general hospitals have dementia. Hospital services are focussed on fast and effective responses, assessment, diagnosis, intervention, cure (if possible) and discharge. Services run on the assumption that patients will be able to express their wishes, acknowledge the needs of other patients and move through the system as required. For people with dementia, particularly when they are ill, or have had an accident, hospital settings can be confusing, challenging and overwhelming. What happens in hospitals can have a profound and permanent effect on individuals and families, not only in terms of their in-patient experience, but also their ongoing health and the decisions that are made about their future. This is why Planning for the Future including appointing Power of Attorney and completing the Getting to Know Me document is so important. This is a way of making sure your wishes for the future are taken into consideration.
The Myth of “Next of Kin”
It is a common myth that, if you begin to lose capacity to make decisions for yourself, your next of kin can just take over your affairs on your behalf. This is not so, unless you have already granted Power of Attorney to them or they have Guardianship this is demonstrated in this short film.
Improving Dementia Care in Hospitals
The increasing importance of dementia care in hospitals is reflected in Scottish Government policies including Promoting Excellence Framework, Standards of Care for Dementia and Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy 2013-2016. Promoting Excellence Framework details the knowledge and skills all health and social services staff should aspire to achieve in relation to the role they play in supporting people with a diagnosis of dementia, and their carers family and friends. Dementia Champions in Scotland have started to help improve standards of dementia care.
The Royal College of Nursing has a resource for nursing staff working with people with dementia Dementia Commitment to the Care of People with Dementia in Hospital Settings and Alzheimer Scotland dementia specialist nurses are registered nurses with expertise in dementia care whose posts are supported initially by Alzheimer Scotland.
The National Dementia Care Action Plan for Acute Care outlines the standards of care people with dementia can expect when being treated in hospital.
People with dementia can’t avoid going to hospital. The Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling have practical hints for families and friends on how you can help a patient with dementia during a hospital admission. 10 Helpful Hints When a Person with Dementia has to go to Hospital. They also have an Online Virtual Hospital. Modern hospitals are rarely designed to take account of the cognitive and perceptual problems of people with dementia. The Virtual Hospital shows how to make an acute setting dementia-friendly and in doing so, easier for everyone.
Getting to Know Me is a document for you and the people who know you to complete. This information will help anyone supporting you to understand what is important to you.
In some hospitals symbols are used to allow staff to identify patients with a known diagnosis of dementia to make sure they can be fully supported during their stay in hospital, these are known as the Butterfly Scheme or Forget – Me – Not Scheme.
Visiting Someone in Hospital
If you find it difficult making your way to visit someone in hospital there is a travel scheme available in the Greater Glasgow area. Glasgow Hospital’s Evening Visitor Transport Service may be of assistance.