This is such a vital subject that I have used the Alzheimers Society ‘Top Ten Tips’ directly from their web site.
These are applicable to residential as well as hospital care.
Published with the kind permission of the Alzheimers Society
When your loved one is in residential care or being cared for in hospital there are many things you can do to check your loved one is receiving good care.
We have put together our ten top tips for carers whose loved ones are now being cared for in a care home / hospital:
Let staff know that the person you care for has Dementia
Ask for the name of the main nurse who will be in charge of the
Ask that you be included in all decisions.
Give staff information about a person's individual
preferences, likes and dislikes. Ask for these to be recorded.
If the hospital has a dementia specialist nurse, ask them to
work with staff directly caring for the person with dementia
about good care.
If the person has trouble eating and drinking ask that they have
someone to help them at mealtime or ask if you can help out
(if you are able to)
If appropriate, tell the staff what the person says or the signs
they make when they want to go to the toilet, and ask that they
be taken straightaway.
If a person is prone to becoming restless or wandering let staff
know and work together to identify ways of helping the person
in their best interests.
Ask staff to discuss with you what will happen when it is time
for the person with dementia to leave hospital so that you
are prepared and know what support is available.
Consult the Alzheimer's Society's factsheet on care in
hospitals for more information.
This was a note written by a nurse and left on my Mothers table when she was in hospital on her 90th birthday.
What makes it worse, is that with dementia, not being able to read, it served no purpose whatsoever, except to show the incompetence of this particular member of staff.
Do NOT feel bad about complaining.
Tips: how you can help
If you choose, you may be able to help with the individual's personal care (for example, taking them to the toilet or supporting them at mealtimes). If you would like to do this, discuss it with the named nurse. Other ways in which you can help might include:
Making sure clothes are discreetly labelled in case they are mislaid.
Cleaning spectacles and checking on hearing aids.
Checking the person's mouth for signs of soreness.
Thinking of enjoyable pastimes or items to occupy the person's time.
‘This is Me’ leaflet launched
The Alzheimer's Society has launched a new leaflet called 'This is me' for people with dementia who are going into hospital.
'This is me’ is a simple and practical tool that someone going into hospital can give to staff to help them understand the condition. It provides a 'snapshot' of the person with dementia, giving information about them as an individual, such as needs, preferences, likes, dislikes and interests.
This should enable staff to treat each person as an individual, thereby reducing distress for them and their carers and helping to prevent issues such as malnutrition and dehydration.
'This is me' was first developed by the Northumberland Acute Care and Dementia Group and is being supported by the Royal College of Nursing.