A new role – Consultant Nurse for Older People
A new role – Consultant Nurse for Older People – has been created at the Royal Devon & Exeter to champion the complex and specialist needs of our older patients and help improve the quality of hospital care and environment for them.
Debbie Cheeseman will be leading on specialist training of hospital staff working on wards and in clinical departments including the development of a network of ‘dementia care champions’ among nurses, medics, allied healthcare professionals (like therapists) and support staff. Her high profile role will provide practical help and advice for colleagues to promote high standards of care of older people. In addition to the frontline activity Debbie will also contribute to the strategic planning of hospital services and facilities so that the specific needs of older patients are met.
The RD&E has a Healthcare for Older People department, led by consultant physician Dr Anthony Hemsley, which is raising the profile of older people and ensuring their needs are met with an emphasis on their dignity, compassion and respecting their wishes. The specialist department brings together doctors, nurses, allied healthcare professionals and hospital support staff. Debbie’s appointment is the latest example of how the RD&E is responding to the increased number of frail older people needing hospital care and services.
Lead RD&E clinician Healthcare for Older People Dr Hemsley said: “Creation of this new post demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to improving our services for older people. Debbie will begin to take the services of our department out to the whole hospital trust, focussing initially on delivery of national standards for dementia care. Care of older patients is an important feature of all our work at the RD&E and education and training of staff will form a vital part of Debbie’s work.”
Debbie, who was previously the matron of the Kenn and Bovey Wards, said: “There are already excellent examples at the Royal Devon & Exeter of the commitment and drive of staff to provide high quality care for older people and now we want to spread that good practice across the whole hospital trust. It is a privilege joining the team championing the healthcare needs of older people.”