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Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust awarded £110,000 for dementia care support

Posted on: Thursday 21 Oct 2021

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) has been awarded £110,000 from NHS Charities Together to invest in dementia care support, develop outdoor spaces and undertake indoor wellbeing projects.

NHS Charities Together is the national charity caring for the NHS and is made up of 240 NHS charity members based with hospitals, mental health, ambulance and community health services across the UK. The funds raised by NHS Charities Together enable the health service to go above and beyond what would otherwise be possible.

During the Covid-19 pandemic hospital visiting arrangements meant that families were unable to visit loved ones.   As regular contact with family and friends is extremely important for the wellbeing of patient’s with dementia, the funding was used by HDFT to purchase tablets with video and audio functionality to create a ‘virtual visiting experience’ so that they could keep in contact with their loved ones via apps such as FaceTime or Zoom.

In addition, the tablets together with new DVD players will provide improved access to inpatient entertainment options.

Patients and visitors will notice that some of the Trust’s outdoor spaces have been transformed with physical and mental wellbeing in mind. The areas which include new seating, garden pods, planting, wind chimes and an outdoor barista will also benefit NHS staff by providing an improved environment in which they can relax, talk to colleagues and spend valuable time away from their working environment.

The funds will also be used to buy appliances for staff rest areas – such as microwaves and coffee and tea making facilities, which can be used by staff during their much needed breaks.

Matron Tammy Gotts said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from NHS Charities Together. The technology we have purchased for our dementia patients builds upon our ‘Letters from Loved Ones’ initiative which was created to help reduce feelings of isolation.

“It is important our patients never feel lonely and the tablets will help improve how they can communication with their friends and family. It also means that our patients would still be able to communicate with their loved ones should we ever face another lockdown.

“Having access to more entertainment options will also improve the hospital experience for patients, whilst the outdoor spaces that have been developed also provide the opportunity for patients to spend more time outside the wards in a pleasant environment. The impact of which will be improved pastoral care for patients, and families will have greater confidence that the care their relative is receiving is of the highest quality”.

Sammy Lambert, Business Development, Charity and Volunteer Manager, said: “We would like to thank NHS Charities Together for their generosity. The funding we have been awarded is helping us to further improve the high level of care we are able to provide.

“Whilst it is wonderful that the funding will be of benefit for patients suffering from dementia, we are also pleased that it will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our NHS colleagues who have worked tirelessly over the pandemic. Their wellbeing is vitally important and simple changes, such as developing outside spaces where they can relax for a moment, will ensure they feel well, healthy and happy at work.”

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “As the independent national charity caring for the NHS, we provide NHS staff and patients with the extra support they need – and we are so pleased to be supporting Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust with these life-changing projects. We know ensuring dementia patients can maintain contact with their loved ones is hugely important for their care, and it can make a vital difference to quality of life. We also know the impact that dedicated wellbeing areas can have for NHS staff, who require space to rest and recover after working so tirelessly to support their patients.

“Together, we can help achieve better health and care for everyone, in every region of the UK – and we look forward to seeing the positive changes these grants will have for local communities.”

(Pictured) Harrogate Hospital Volunteer Mary McIntee with one of the tablets for dementia patients.