Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust awarded £110,000 for dementia care support

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) have been awarded £110,000 from NHS Charities Together to invest in dementia care support, develop outdoors spaces and undertake indoor wellbeing projects.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:41 am
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:15 pm
Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity Volunteer Mary McIntee with one of the tablets for dementia patients

NHS Charities Together is the national charity caring for the NHS and is made up of 240 NHS charity members based within hospitals, mental health, ambulance and community health services across the United Kingdom.

The funds raised by NHS Charities Together enable the health service to go above and beyond what would otherwise be possible.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, hospital visiting arrangements meant that families were unable to visit loved ones.

As regular contact with family and friends is extremely important for the wellbeing of patient's with dementia, the funding was used by HDFT to purchase tablets with video and audio functionality to create a 'virtual visiting experience' so that they could keep in contact with their loved ones via apps such as FaceTime and Zoom.

In addition, the tablets together with new DVD players will provide improved access to inpatient entertainment options.

Patients and visitors will also notice that some of the Trust's outdoor spaces have been transformed with physical and mental wellbeing in mind.

The areas, which include new seating, garden pods, planting, wind chimes and an outdoor barista will also benefit NHS staff by providing an improved environment in which they can relax, talk to colleagues an spend valuable time away from their working environment.

Matron Tammy Gotts said: "We are delighted to receive this funding from NHS Charities Together.

"The technology we have purchased for our dementia patients builds upon out 'Letters from Loved Ones' initiative which was created to help reduce feelings of isolation.

"It is important our patients never feel lonely and the tablets will help improve how they can communicate with their friends and family and it also means that our patients would still be table to communicate with their loved ones should we ever face another lockdown.

"Having access to more entertainment options will also improve the hospital experience for patients, whilst the outdoor spaces that have been developed also provide the opportunity for patients to spend more time outside the wards in a pleasant environment."

The funds will also be used to buy appliances for staff rest areas - such as microwaves and coffee and tea making facilities, which can be used by staff during their much needed breaks.

Sammy Lambert, Business Development, Charity and Volunteer Manager, said: "We would like to thank NHS Charities Together for their generosity.

"The funding we have been awarded is helping us to further improve the high level of care we are able to provide.

"Whilst it is wonderful that the funding will be of benefit for patients suffering from dementia, we are also pleased that it will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our NHS colleagues who have worked tirelessly over the pandemic.

"Their wellbeing is vitally important and simple changes, such as developing outside spaces where they can relax for a moment will ensure they feel well, healthy and happy at work."

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: "As the independent national charity caring for the NHS, we provide NHS staff and patients with the extra support they need - and we are so pleased to be supporting Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust with these life-changing projects.

"Together, we can help achieve better health and care for everyone, in every region of the UK - and we look forward to seeing the positive changes these grants will have for local communities."