Pictured left to right: Trish Banner-Martin, Matron, Lisa
Bellwood, Ward Clerk and Janet Mortimer, Dementia Specialist
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is launching
new 'orientation boards' for its elderly care wards across
Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North
The boards, which are designed to support and enhance the
experience of dementia patients while in hospital, have been
developed by the Trust's dementia nurse specialist Janet Mortimer
with support from nurse colleagues.
The new boards, which will be located in patient side rooms,
display a range of information including the date, month, season as
well as photographs of local landmarks both past and present.
The boards are designed to be interactive so patients can choose
and change the photographs which are displayed.
Many more elderly patients and particularly those living with
dementia can become disorientated while in hospital and the boards
are designed to support them with information which can help
interactions with nursing staff and improve the overall patient
Dementia nurse specialist, Janet Mortimer at the Trust said: "If
a patient has been in hospital for a long time or for patients
living with dementia, they can become disorientated and even
knowing the date and month becomes difficult. So when, we as health
care professionals are asking patients simple questions such as
this and they don't know the answer it can be very distressing for
"These boards are a way of starting an interaction between a
patient and health staff, something to use to begin a conversation
and start to build a relationship to help the patient feel more
comfortable in the hospital environment. We've made the boards
interactive so patients are able to change the photos and
information displayed on them which also provides a focus while
they are in hospital.
"I'm really excited to see the launch of the new orientation
boards. We've now got over 40 going up across the Trust and I'm
pleased to see the idea become a reality. We've had a lot of help
to get to this point, we started with just some laminated print
outs and now have these fantastic magnetic boards - we've
progressed so far and we hope the boards will bring some real
benefits to our patients' experience."
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community