Two dedicated nurses have picked up the latest Health Board Seren Betsi Star Award for their work helping dementia patients in the Emergency Department at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Sister Cath Young and Sister Lisa Scutt have won the prestigious award for creating a training programme which helps staff to understand how they can support dementia patients who are coping with the challenge of being in an unfamiliar environment when they are unwell.
Over 30 staff have now taken the Royal College of Nursing accredited course and can recognise patients with memory difficulties and know how to make them feel more at ease.
Cath and Lisa have also helped to implement many changes to the environment in the Emergency Department to improve the experience for patients with dementia.
They created a ‘butterfly’ system at triage which identifies patients who have memory problems and ensures they are not left to wait alone.
They are also in the process of improving the separate dementia friendly waiting area that will be decorated with old photographs and have a television that plays old programmes to help dementia patients feel more comfortable.
Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Gary Doherty said: “The work that Lisa and Cath are doing is fantastic and has had a really positive impact on both staff and patients.
“It is so important that we support dementia patients in any way possible and their nomination shows how hard they are working at Wrexham Maelor Hospital to ensure that as many staff as possible know how to help dementia patients and preserve their dignity.”
Speaking about the award, Cath said she and Lisa were “delighted”.
“Improving is an ongoing challenge but we want to adapt the department as much as we can to meet the needs of dementia patients,” continued Cath.
“We’ve had really good feedback from staff and we have a waiting list for the training which is great as there are lots of people from nurses to domestic and portering staff who are really keen to complete it.”
Lisa added, “We try to make the sessions fun and really practical. We are hoping to make links with other departments in the hospital too. If our work helps one person, then it has been worth it.”
Melanie Jones, practice development nurse who nominated Cath and Lisa for the Award said: “They have put so much work into the dementia improvements and been to many places to look at best practice and to meet people and get ideas.
“They have made such a difference to the patient experience of coming through our Emergency Department.
“In triage we now identify patients early and ask them whether they have any memory problems.
“We have a separate room for triage patients which is a safe area for them to wait with appropriate seating and adjustments made to make sure the room is dementia friendly.
“They have been so dynamic, they really do deserve this award.”