Mealtimes for patients with dementia are being improved at
hospitals across County Durham and Darlington thanks to the
introduction of new specialist crockery.
People suffering from dementia often experience visual problems
including not being able to distinguish between different colours.
Studies have found that this can compound difficulties at
mealtimes. If the crockery is a similar colour to the food being
served then a person with dementia may not be able to see the
contrast and recognise the food that is there to be eaten.
As part of its 'dignity in care' campaign, County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has recently introduced new
crockery for four elderly care wards across its hospitals to help
improve mealtimes for those patients suffering from dementia.
Thanks to funding from each of the hospital 'Friends'
organisations, Darlington Memorial Hospital, University Hospital of
North Durham and Bishop Auckland Hospital are now all serving meals
on new yellow melamine crockery.
Eileen Aylott, Practice Development Matron at the Trust said:
"The number of people living with dementia is expected to double
over the next 30 years. The majority of these patients will be
elderly and may at some point require a stay in hospital. At the
Trust we have been looking at our practices to ensure that these
patients are cared for in a dignified manner.
"We are introducing a number of schemes to improve dignity in
care, including the new crockery. It has been proven that
contrasting crockery enhances the food on the plate which
encourages dementia patients to eat the food which has been served.
Alongside the new crockery we have also introduced new signage on
one of our elderly care wards which include visual symbols as well
as names for different areas such as the bathroom and toilet areas
which help those with dementia recognise and identify these
different areas and we have also been able to purchase some new red
toilet seats for these wards to help patient orientate themselves
with more ease."
Dementia is a common condition. In the United Kingdom there is
an estimated 821,000 people living with dementia representing 1.3%
of the population.
Published: 11 April 2011
'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