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Royal Devon & Exeter Supports Dementia Awareness Week 2014

Patients and staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital recently took part in a memory walk to raise awareness of dementia. The memory walk around the hospital grounds was part of a week-long programme of activities organised in support of National Dementia Awareness Week’ (18th - 23rd May).

The national campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of Dementia and to encourage people to seek help if they are concerned.

Throughout the week visitors to the hospital were encouraged to write down their memories of the seasons on memory walls across the Wonford site. A service was held in the hospital’s Chaplaincy Centre where patients and guests could enjoy music from a Brass Band Ensemble, sing hymns and listen to poetry readings. Inpatients were also entertained by the RD&E’s rock and pop choir the 'Rhythm of Life' during an evening performance on the wards and enjoyed a cream tea on Friday afternoon to wrap up the week. 

The Devon Garden, a therapeutic space for patients with dementia which is currently under construction in the grounds of the RD&E, played a central role in Dementia Awareness Week. Patients were given the chance to plant sweet-peas with Stephen Pettet-Smith from Exeter Health Care Arts to grow in the garden and participants on the memory walk finished their tour with a sneak peak of the nearly completed space.

As well as raising awareness about dementia, staff were also keen to support the Alzheimer’s Society and organised a cake sale and raffle, raising a grand total of £838 for the charity.

Given the South West’s aging population, raising awareness of cognitive impairments such as Dementia and Delirium is of significant importance to staff at the RD&E. The Department of Health has recently mandated that all NHS staff should be trained in Dementia Awareness by 2018. In order to provide the best possible care for our patients, the RD&E has already trained over 2,500 clinical and non-clinical staff – a number that has been boosted by a further 236 staff who were trained during Dementia Awareness Week.

Julie Vale, Acting Consultant Nurse for Older People at the RD&E said: “Dementia awareness is something that is at the top of our agenda. We are working towards ensuring that all our staff have the knowledge, skills and confidence to ensure that patients with Dementia receive the right care and support whenever and wherever they come into contact with our services.”

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