West Suffolk Hospital signs dementia pledge

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095557001
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095557001

A campaign to ensure carers of dementia sufferers are given greater access to loved ones has been officially supported by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust has become one of the first 100 hospitals to sign up to ‘John’s Campaign’, an initiative started by Suffolk author Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, which sees members state publicly that they welcome carers of those with dementia whenever the patient needs them, including overnight if necessary.

This runs alongside the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign run by West Suffolk Hospital Charity.

Julia Fountain, the hospital’s dementia lead, said: “Enabling family members to be more involved in a hospital stay has benefits for both the patient and the carer.

“Hospital can be a strange and frightening environment for someone with dementia, so a familiar face can help provide continuity and support.”

John’s Campaign was founded after the death of Dr John Gerrard in November 2014 after his family were restricted to visiting him during his five-week stay in hospital due to an outbreak of infection. His family said his subsequent decline was ‘catastrophic’.

Stephen Dunn, WSH chief executive, said: “Offering support and care to, not only our patients, but also their family members and carers is of paramount importance.”

John’s Campaign said: “We believe these 100 hospitals are at the forefront of a real change in the way vulnerable people are supported in hospital.”