A PILOT scheme to help people with dementia is now being rolled out across Cwm Taf Health Board.
The ‘This is Me’ leaflet was initially launched on a couple of wards at Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan Hospitals at the start of the year. But it has proved so successful it is now being used throughout the health board.
‘This is Me’ is a simple and practical tool which gives a snapshot of the person with dementia, confusion or memory loss. It provides information about them, including their needs, preferences, likes, dislikes and interests. This allows staff to treat each person as an individual helping to reduce distress for patients and their carers.
Relatives and carers have said they feel included in their loved ones’ treatment and feel reassured nurses care about the patient and their family.
One carer said: “My frustrations were repeatedly informing staff that she takes two sugars in her tea; does not use a beaker at home but a cup and saucer and also what her particular likes and dislikes are regarding food.
“This might seem trivial, however when you have an individual with confusion who is unable to communicate herself, this is an essential aspect of her recovery.
“It was refreshing to be taken aside and given the opportunity to share some of my valuable knowledge to improve her wellbeing and keep her basic care as close as possible to her normal environment.
“Filling in this form has also given me peace of mind that somebody has taken the time to listen to the right people to ensure that she gets the essential care she needs.”
The leaflet, which was initially designed by the Alzheimer’s Society, has been adapted and further developed by the health board. It will be officially launched today (October 1) at Prince Charles Hospital, in Merthyr Tydfil.
A DVD has also been produced to help train staff and the leaflet is also available in Welsh - ‘Dyma Pwy Ydw’..
Lynda Williams, director of nursing at Cwm Taf Health Board, said:
“Putting the patient at the centre of care planning is vital. ‘This is Me’ helps ensure that the care the patient receives is personal to them, even when they are unable to communicate it well themselves.
“Patients, their families and staff are telling us about what a positive difference ‘This is Me’ makes to their experience of care.”
‘This is Me’ won a Welsh Language in Healthcare Award last year. Rebecca Thomas, the transforming care facilitator at Cwm Taf Health Board, said: “It is great to have this work recognised at a national level as it is so important to patients experience and ensure the highest standards of care are maintained.
“It also ensures that carers and relatives are involved in the care planning of their loved ones.”
As well as the ‘This is Me’ leaflet, all wards in Cwm Taf Health Board use a picture of a forget-me-not as a visual cue to identify patients who have the leaflet. Bilingual patients will have two magnets against their name - the Iaith Gwaith logo and the forget-me-not.
Posters have been developed to inform the public and to raise awareness that the wards are using the leaflet.
The health board plans to further adapt the leaflet for children and teenagers who are being treated in hospital.