Events review – Dementia play and cardiology talk

Thursday October 5, 2017

Early last month we had a ‘lights, camera and action week’; members of the public, staff, volunteers and Governors were treated to two evening events, the likes of which we’ve never experienced before!

At the first event more than 60 people gathered at St Richard’s for our dementia information evening and play, “Rain falling upwards”, a heart-warming and thought provoking play performed by Drip Action Theatre group.

Over refreshments, attendees walked around a buzzing marketplace of information stands comprising local dementia support groups, support for carers, our dementia team and chaplaincy, Chichester Festival Theatre and District Council. Clutching leaflets and newly acquired contacts, people took their seats in Mickerson Hall where the stage was set with props ready for the play and lectern just visible for the short presentations beforehand.

Trust Chairman Mike Viggers travelled from Brighton to give the opening welcome which included some very personal reflections and insights from his family’s experience of dementia and he explained how it was the reason he wanted to become involved with the NHS. “I know how this developing condition can impact people, families, and carers, and how frightening it can be to deal with the diagnosis and living with the condition,” and added that “humour and laughter are always there. Dementia is a disease, nothing changes the person we know”.

“I have seen and been moved by some amazing acts of kindness by wonderful staff and volunteers who every day go above and beyond, there seems to be no limit to the generosity of inspiring people in giving time and care and you will have met many of them this evening.

“I am also very grateful to our Friends organisations who have so generously supported us by purchasing equipment and the items and materials our team of volunteers use on our wards.

“No two people are the same we are all individuals and “living well” with Dementia will feel different, but “living well” is a reality and understanding is the key which I know this evening will help with.”

Dementia Matron Frances Usher-Smith explained the team’s primary goal was to help everyone at the Trust ‘to see the person not the dementia’. Clinical Nurse Specialist Paul Morris and Dementia Nurse Sarah Mundy demonstrated the value of a ‘Knowing Me’ document to the team caring for that person by sharing some excerpts from a completed one which enabled the team to understand the person’s reactions and situations which made them anxious.

John Thompson, Lead Governor, Jill Long, Deputy Governor and Roger Thompson, the Governor whose idea it was to invite Drip Action to perform the play, encouraged the audience to become involved with the Trust, to share experiences and join as a member of the Foundation Trust.

The second event was held at Worthing and entitled ‘Heart attacks, stents and all that jazz’ presented by Dr Mark Signy MA FRCP, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist. More than 50 people took the opportunity to listen to Dr Signy describe the role of the cardiologist at Western Sussex followed by a question and answer session.

The event was lively and humorous and included a large selection of images, video and music – Cilla Black, Anyone Had a Heart accompanied some photographs! We heard how in the 1960s, 7 out of 10 heart attacks were fatal whereas today, 7 out of 10 people survive. Statins, the benefits of having a dog, staying slim and drinking in moderation were all discussed.

Feedback included: “whole event very helpful. Informative and reassuring as a consequence”, “informative, interesting and good humoured lecturer”, and “Outstanding! Well done Mark!”

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