By Andy Hirst
People with loved ones with special needs or suffering from dementia will be able to stay with them all night in our hospitals.
A scheme called Keep Carers Caring is up and running at both Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital which gives carers a number of significant benefits so they will be able to continue caring for their relatives even when they are in hospital.
It means they will have free car parking, unrestricted visiting hours and will be able to stay with their relatives in the hospital all night if necessary. They will also be given free meals.
The move comes after concerns were raised by some people about the quality of care their relatives had been receiving.
It follows the national John’s Campaign (https://johnscampaign.org.uk/) which is named after Dr John Gerrard, who died in November 2014 after a catastrophic stay in hospital due to his dementia which led to his death.
In short, people need constant care to ensure they eat, drink and retain as many of their functions as possible.
In Huddersfield and Calderdale the campaign has been expanded to include people with physical disabilities, cognitive impairment, long-term conditions, learning disabilities, mental health issues or are frail.
David Britton, associate director of nursing (medicine) at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, is the Trust’s John’s Campaign ambassador. He said: “I have listened to some of our carers’ experiences, particularly due to not getting things right for them and their loved one.
“I put myself in their world and truly understand the detrimental impact this has on them and their loved one. I am going to use my voice and my role to change this for the better and to ensure that we work in partnership with our carers.”
In a statement, the Trust adds: “The Trust has listened to feedback about the way carers looking after people are treated within our hospitals. We know that to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients we need to Keep Carers Caring.
“As part of our approach to Keep Carers Caring, we are proud to announce that we are supporters of John’s Campaign.
“John’s Campaign recognises the valuable role carers have in the reassurance and dignity of people living with dementia. We see their presence here is in response to their needs and not restricted to visiting hours.”
The carers will be given lanyards so they are easily identifiable for staff.
The Trust adds: “We want carers to feel seen, heard and supported across our hospitals and within the community.
“To help make life a little bit easier we now offer those with a lanyard free car parking at our hospital sites when bringing a loved one to an appointment or visiting them on our wards.
“They simply need to present the lanyard to the staff on the main reception desk, who will validate their parking ticket.”