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Trust marks Dementia Awareness Week in a very special way

16 May 2017

Ward 37 at York Hospital officially opened its new ‘Café 37’ dementia activity room today (Tuesday 16 May) - a safe space on the ward open to patients and their visitors.  

The concept of the activity room is to help improve the overall wellbeing of patients with dementia by encouraging mobility and to give patients the opportunity to engage in conversation, as well as join in with activities.

The café was funded with money raised by York Teaching Hospital Charity’s Roaring 20’s Ball, held in July 2016.  The ball inspired the charity’s Dementia Appeal, launched earlier this year, which aims to raise £200,000 to provide a better experience for patients living with dementia throughout the Trust.

The new dementia activity room was officially opened by Emma George, Assistant Director of Nursing, and dementia lead, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Emma said:  “The Trust marks Dementia Awareness week every year and this year we wanted to do something special; the opening of our first dementia café and activity room is an important milestone for the Trust.

“Everyone needs a sense of purpose and to enjoy themselves during the day.  The activity room offers an informal setting for people who are affected by memory problems to exchange experiences, receive practical and emotional support and undertake engaging and stimulating activities.”

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Staff from Ward 37 and representatives from York Teaching Hospital Charity were on hand during the official opening to provide information and advice to partners, generous donors, as well as family, friends and staff.  Along with homemade cakes, courtesy of staff radiographer Rachel Smith, there was live music from local volunteers, refreshments and various activities taking place.

Tracey Clark, Sister on Ward 37, explains more:  “Having a dementia activity room will bring so many benefits for everyone associated with Ward 37.  The space will be an invaluable way for relatives and carers to have more involvement in the care of patients - providing them with familiar faces and improved surroundings.  

“Patients will be able to relax in the new café area with their family or a volunteer, helping to keep them engaged and distracted.  For staff it will be great to have a place to take patients when they become agitated so that we can divert their attention and calm them down.”

Beverley Geary, Chief Nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is estimated that 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK and one in six people over the age of 80.  With an aging population, the demand on our hospitals to provide a dementia friendly environment and specialised care is only going to increase.  

“The launch of our three year dementia strategy and new activity room reaffirms the Trust’s commitment to becoming even more dementia friendly.”

Emma adds: “This week is a time to reflect and encourage people to look beyond and understand that everyone living with dementia is still an individual.”

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It is estimated that 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK and one in six people over the age of 80 

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