Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

Yeovil Hospital Charity pays for improvements to facilities and services at Yeovil Hospital. Our project is all about making a difference for older patients who may be feeling confused, lonely and anxious.

The Emergency Department, also known as A&E, is somewhere many older people find themselves, having fallen or been taken ill. When they arrive, there are often hundreds of other people milling around, waiting and talking. Everybody there is seeking urgent medical attention and many of them are distressed. Some of the people there may even get aggressive, especially at weekends when there are more alcohol and drug related incidents.

For a frail older person, this can be a toxic mix, creating a very hostile and confusing environment. This can often lead to them becoming distressed themselves. They may be suffering from a dementia or they may have an infection, which can cause confusion. Even if the patient is thinking clearly, it is still not a nice place for an older person to be. Waiting times can at times be as long as 4 hours so people’s emotional state can deteriorate as the hours go by. A confused older person can start to think: Why am I here? Why are those people shouting? Why is nobody talking to me? Am I ever going to get help? Have they forgotten me?

This is where our Wellbeing Officer would be able to make a difference. The Wellbeing Officer is a non-medical team member, free to move around the emergency department and support those older patients who are showing signs of distress or confusion. They would be available in waiting areas and treatment rooms and could even accompany older people to other parts of the hospital for further treatment. They would be knowledgeable about dementia and understand the problems this might cause with communication and treatment.

WHAT THE WELLBEING OFFICER WOULD DO
• Seek out the most distressed or confused older patients
• Talk to older patients that need support
• Talk to partners/carers that need support
• Explain treatment
• Act as a link between patients and medical staff
• Invite patients to share their feelings
• Encourage patients to reminisce about happy times
• Use a range of objects to engage, distract and calm patients with dementia
• Accompany patients to treatment
• Explain the role of any professionals that need to interact with the patient

WHO WOULD BENEFIT
• 1,500 patients with dementia or other issues affecting their emotional wellbeing
• 1,500 family members/carers (most patients attend A&E with someone)
• 80 Emergency Department staff

THE KEY BENEFITS
Older/vulnerable people will:
• be happier/less anxious
• be less distressed and there will be less incidents of aggression
• have a better understanding of A&E
• have a better understanding of their treatment
• have a better understanding of who the various team members are and what their role is
• be more cooperative with treatment
• receive the right treatment sooner and more efficiently, therefore meaning they have improved health outcomes and are able to leave A&E sooner

Older/vulnerable people’s partners/carers (often older people themselves) will feel supported/reassured

Older/vulnerable people’s partners/carers will be less anxious, better informed and therefore better able to support the older person

Hospital staff will have be less frustrated and more satisfied with what they have been able to achieve

WHAT WE WOULD SPEND THE MONEY ON
• We would pay a Wellbeing Officer to work in the Emergency Department for 12 months
• We would also use some of the funds to promote the project, which would encourage local funders to get involved and would help us to attract further funding and support in the future
• We would pay for materials to help the Wellbeing Officer to engage with confused patients
• We would use some funds to share what we have learned with other local organisations that work with older patients (in particular those with a dementia)

Yeovil Hospital Charity

Location: Yeovil

We can make a difference to someone who is feeling really vulnerable. it is a simple idea that will reduce anxiety and confusion and make a difference to vulnerable people's mental and physical health.
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