It’s important to remember that most patients with dementia are not in hospital because of their dementia, but for another health condition. However, an unfamiliar hospital environment or the health condition they have been admitted for can sometimes heighten someone’s dementia symptoms.
Our dementia team create a more dementia-friendly hospital environment such as making good use of clearer signs and colours. We help colleagues, patients and their families with their questions about dementia, the support available and when their loved one can leave hospital.
How we help
For our dementia patients, the importance of close relationships with unpaid carers or family members cannot be underestimated
Our team supports these relationships through our Carer’s Policy and Carer’s Passport – which gives the right to be with a patient at any time of day or night – and our support for John’s Campaign.
We’re also fortunate to have specially-trained ‘Knowing Me volunteers’ who lead activities on the wards to keep patients engaged in meaningful ways that help their recovery, reduce anxiety and help pass the time while they get better.
Getting ready for your appointment
- If you’re a carer of someone living with dementia who is coming into hospital, we will ask you to fill in a ‘Knowing Me’ form to tell us more about them.
- The form is an easy and practical way of recording who you/they are as a person. It helps all our health and social care professionals see them as an individual so we can deliver care that is tailored specifically to their needs. It can also help with communication difficulties and stop more serious conditions such as malnutrition and dehydration developing.
How to complete a ‘Knowing Me’ form
The Knowing Me form is an easy way of giving us information about a person with dementia that helps them see that person as an individual as well as a patient.
It can be used in any setting – at home, hospital, in respite care or a care home and can help reduce distress for the person with dementia and their carer. It can also help with communication difficulties and prevent serious conditions developing, such as malnutrition and dehydration. This will enhance the care and support they receive while in an unfamiliar environment. It is not a medical document.
‘Knowing Me’ is about the person at the time the form is completed and will need to be updated often. It can be completed by the person with dementia or their carer with help from the person with dementia where possible.
Form sections and guidance notes
- full name and the name you prefer to be known by.
Where I currently live
- The area (not the address) where I live. Include details about how long I have lived there and where I have lived before.
Carer/the person who knows me best
- It may be a spouse, relative, friend or carer.
I would like you to know:
- Include anything I feel is important and will help staff to get to know and care for you, eg I have dementia, I have never been in hospital before, I prefer female carers, I don’t like the dark, I am left handed, I am allergic to… etc.
My home and family, things that are important to me:
- Include marital status, children, grandchildren, friends, pets, any possessions, things of comfort. Any religious or cultural considerations?
My life so far
- Place of birth, education, work history, travel, etc. My hobbies and interests: Past or present – eg reading, music, television or radio, crafts, cars. Things which may worry or upset me: Anything that may upset me or cause anxiety such as personal worries, eg money, family concerns, or being apart from a loved one, or physical needs, eg being in pain, constipated, thirsty or hungry..
I like to relax by
- Things which may help if I become unhappy or distressed. What usually reassures me, eg comforting words, music or TV? Do I like company and someone sitting and talking with me or prefer quiet time alone? Who could be contacted to help and if so when?
My hearing and eyesight
- Can I hear well or do I need a hearing aid? How is it best to approach me? Is the use of touch appropriate? Do I need eye contact to establish communication? Do I wear glasses or need any other vision aids?
- How do I usually communicate, eg verbally, using gestures, pointing or a mixture of both? Can I read and write and does writing things down help?
How do I indicate pain, discomfort, thirst or hunger ?
- Include anything that may help staff identify my needs.
- Am I fully mobile or do I need help? Do I need a walking aid? Is my mobility affected by surfaces? Can I use stairs? Can I stand unaided from sitting position? Do I need handrails? Do I need a special chair or cushion, or do my feet need raising to make me comfortable?
- Usual sleep patterns and bedtime routines. Do I like a light left on and do I find it difficult to find the toilet at night? Position in bed, any special mattress, pillow, do I need a regular change of position?
My personal care
- Normal routines, preferences and usual level of assistance required in the bath or, shower or other. Do I prefer a male or female carer? What are my preferences for continence aids used, soaps, cosmetics, shaving, teeth cleaning and dentures?
My eating and drinking
- Do I need help to eat or drink? Can I use cutlery or do I prefer finger foods? Do I need adapted aids such as cutlery or crockery to eat and drink? Does food need to be cut into pieces? Do I wear dentures to eat or do I have swallowing difficulties?
Do I require thickened fluids?
- List likes, dislikes and any special dietary requirements including vegetarianism, religious or cultural needs. Include information about my appetite and whether I need help to choose food off a menu.
- Do I need help to take medication? Do I prefer to take liquid medication?
Where we are
St Richard’s Hospital 01243 788122
Worthing Hospital 01903 205111 Ext. 84251
How to refer
If you or someone you know is worried about becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly If they’re over 65, you should talk to your GP about the possibility of dementia.