Spotlight

Additional support for people with dementia and delirium thanks to new role

Clinicians who care for patients with dementia and delirium are now able to access additional support, thanks to a new specialist dementia nurse role introduced across Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

The new specialist role covers Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset’s community hospitals, providing clinicians on wards with clinical advice.

Becky Furzer, who was previously ward sister on a care of the elderly ward – Eliot ward at Musgrove Park Hospital – has been appointed to the role and is looking forward to developing exciting projects to improve the care of patients with dementia and delirium.

“I’m really excited to have started this fantastic new role,” she said. “I have so many exciting projects in mind to improve the care of people with dementia and ensure they get a better experience of our services.

“One of the first areas I want to focus on is helping to ensure that our patients’ privacy and dignity is respected while they are in our care.

“It would be so much better if we encouraged our patients to get out of their hospital bed and get dressed. This will not only help them to remain in a better physical condition, but also give them a better sense of themselves as a person rather than a patient in hospital.

“I’m confident that with small changes like this we can help to reduce patients’ length of stay in hospital, as well as the stress level of the patient and their family or carers.”

Becky has been a nurse at Musgrove Park Hospital for just over 10 years, mainly on care of the elderly and stroke wards.

“Most recently I was the ward sister on Eliot ward, so over the years I have developed a wealth of knowledge about patients with dementia and delirium,” she continued.

“Throughout my nursing career I’ve had a keen interest in the care of elderly patients as I love the challenges that can present.

“While the role doesn’t involve one-to-one care with individual patients, I provide advice on different cohorts of patients, particularly if they are experiencing behavioural difficulties or struggling with the hospital environment; for example, if they’ve had to be isolated due to infection control.

“We know that the involvement of a patient’s carer(s) is key to meeting their needs so I’m also available to support carers if they have any questions or need advice.

“As the proposed merger with Yeovil Hospital takes shape, I’ve also been linking in with my dementia colleagues in Yeovil to share best practice and learn from each other about how we care for patients with dementia and delirium.

“It has been fantastic to work so closely with Yeovil Hospital colleagues and has led us to jointly develop the first ever dementia strategy that covers the whole of Somerset’s NHS community.

“It really feels that we are very much part of a bigger team and because of this we can learn from each other to make improvements to delirium and dementia care.

“Another important part of the role is promoting continuity of care across our trust, which can only benefit our patients who may be seen in a variety of different settings. Again, we link in with Yeovil Hospital colleagues on this, particularly for patients in our southern and eastern Somerset community hospitals.”