A growing proportion of people accessing acute hospital services have dementia and the number of people living the condition is expected to double over the next 30 years. Hospital can be a disorientating place but this innovation from ExtraMed offers support for hospital patients with dementia.
There is increasing evidence that the environment of care in hospitals can have a significant and detrimental effect on patients with dementia. A hospital stay can cause additional distress and confusion. It’s often small things that make a difference and help to comfort the patient. Clear signage, light and airy rooms and good handrails all help, as well a new feature on the ExtraMed screens at the bedside of 70,000 UK hospital patients. The screens can display information in a dementia-friendly manner, assisting with their orientation and comfort.
The solution has been developed in conjunction with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, The Royal Free Hospital and Broomfield Hospital (Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust) and has already been rolled out to these sites.
The Dementia Orientation Screen can be easily activated by a carer or other staff member when it is felt the patient would benefit. This can be particularly useful at night time when patients with dementia most often become confused. The screen displays ‘at a glance’ orientation triggers – a range of important information in a clear and simple format, including: Hospital and ward name, the day, date and time, (which is also inferred by highlighting the next meal (e.g. ‘your next meal is breakfast’). The background screen colour also reflects the time of day. As a high percentage of patient with dementia also have sensory impairment, there is also a ‘sound’ function that speaks the screen (developed with the support of The University of Edinburgh).
“The ExtraMed Dementia Orientation Screen offers not only comfort, reassurance and helps to keep patients settled but can also have a wider impact, like reducing the risk of unnecessary falls. People with dementia are known to be four to five times more likely to experience falls than persons without significant cognitive impairment – so anything that contributes positively to eliminating disorientation is highly welcomed. All in all, it is a simple tool that should be available to anyone who needs it at the point of care, and ExtraMed is making great strides towards this.”
Sarah Bryan, Dementia Case Manager,
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
“The availability of the ExtraMed screen at each bedside makes it an ideal tool to serve useful and targeted information, particularly for people with dementia, who would benefit from enhanced orientation through simple and clear messages about where they are, what day it is and what their next meal is – simple aspects in life that are often taken for granted. It is hoped that the feature will offer comfort and reassurance to support many patients during their hospital stay. The feature is also conducive to supporting clinical recommendations from external bodies such as The Alzheimer’s Society and The King’s Fund for creating dementia friendly environments.”
Fran Hodby, Dementia Specialist, Elderly Assessment Team,
Broomfield Hospital, Mid Essex Hospitals Trust