STAFF at Worthing Hospital dressed up in period clothing for Dementia Awareness Day.
The team donned retro gear on December 19 to help to showcase the new Reminiscence Pods introduced by the hospital trust with financial support from the Friends of Worthing Hospital.
The rem pods are latest in a long line of initiatives introduced by the trust’s dementia team, which includes specialist nurses Caroline Betsworth and Heather Pennicott, and specialist occupational therapist Emma Carter.
The pods are pop up reminiscence rooms and work by turning any clinical care space into a therapeutic and calming environment for those who may find it hard to adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital ward.
They use the historic materials to help patients connect with memories from earlier in their lives.
The team also held a raffle and tombola, raising about £300 for the Love Your Hospital charity funds for dementia care.
Matron Katrina O’Shea said: “Everyone was brilliant – and, frankly, the team loves the chance to dress up! The reminiscence pods are proving to be really effective in engaging a group of patients who can often find a hospital environment particularly confusing and distressing.
“It is believed that one in four acute inpatients now have a dementia, and that number is only going to climb, so it is essential that we continue to work to improve the way we look after this vulnerable group.”
Volunteers at the hospital are being trained to be able to spend time with patients suffering from a dementia, and last year the ‘Knowing Me’ initiative was introduced to help staff to find out more about the life, likes and dislikes of their patients, which in turn helps them to care for people who might have difficulty communicating clearly.
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, is supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK’s call for G8 global dementia research strategy. More than 820,000 live with dementia in the UK, including more than 12,500 people in West Sussex, and numbers are set to increase as people live longer.