Carers of people with a dementia are supported in hospital by our Carer’s Charter and Passport, and our commitment to the principles of John’s Campaign.
For anyone with a dementia, the importance of close relationships with unpaid carers or family members cannot be underestimated and is why we are supporters of John’s Campaign and are proud of our Carer’s Charter and Carer’s Passport, which give carers the right to be with a patient at any time of day or night in our hospitals.
We will provide recliner chairs at the bedside, meals to share with their loved one and even free parking for those visiting regularly.
Please do ask ward staff about our Carer’s Passport if you look after a loved one admitted to our hospitals.
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At Western Sussex Hospitals, we believe in supporting John’s Campaign, which promotes the right of people with a dementia to be looked after in hospital by their family carers.
The guiding principles of John’s Campaign are:
Carers (anyone who is the primary support for a person with a dementia when they are not in hospital) should have access to the patient whenever they are needed – whether that is during the day or during the night
The patient’s needs are at the centre of this access principle. Whatever supports their personal wellbeing is likely to make their medical treatment more effective and will promote their secure discharge.
Carers should be welcomed. They are an essential part of the patient’s team.
Carers have a right – but not a duty – to be with the person they care for. John’s Campaign focuses on the unpaid “family” carer. However, if a person with a dementia is primarily supported by someone who is paid (eg a trusted home help or companion), that person will be just as welcome.
Carers are there to nurture, not to nurse.
Western Sussex Hospitals has adopted these principles for all carers in our hospitals, not just those looking after people with a dementia.
Our Carers Charter acknowledges the invaluable role that carers play in supporting their loved ones during a hospital stay, and provides clear guidance on the boundaries staff and carers should each respect.
We expect hospital staff to treat all patients, visitors and staff with respect and consideration at all times and will not accept any failure to do so.
If carers need quiet time for reflection or rest, staff should ensure that they are directed to a quiet space (eg the chapel areas or restaurants), where they are welcome and can find a sanctuary for peace.
The Trust also asks carers to respect other people’s social, cultural and religious values. Any disruptive or abusive behaviour towards staff or other patients will not be accepted and could lead to carers being asked to leave the hospital.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the hospital sites, including the car park and grounds. Carers will need to leave the premises should they wish to smoke.
The Carer’s Passport is a small card that carers can carry with them to show they are caring for a loved one in hospital and get the help they need to do so.
The Carer’s Passport will be issued by ward staff to the carer and is recognised by staff throughout the trust, who will be happy to support them in any way that they can, such as arranging open visiting, enabling them to eat meals with their loved one or to stay with them overnight in a reclining chair by their bedside.
We ask that carers return the Passport to the nurse in charge when their loved one leaves hospital.
Carers are able to visit their loved one in any of our adult inpatient areas at any time, to enable them to stay fully involved in the patient’s care.
However, please be aware that this 24/7 open visiting applies only to carers, meaning other visitors may only visit during normal visiting hours, which are 10.00 am – 10.00 pm.
Carers and other visitors may sometimes be asked to leave the patient’s bedside, usually for reasons of confidentiality, privacy or dignity – for example, during doctors’ rounds or when healthcare professionals may be carrying out certain interventions. The nurse in charge must consider the needs of all patients in the bay and/or side rooms in making these decisions.
If carers do remain present during treatment, there must be a clear agreement of their responsibilities and those of the multi-disciplinary team.
Hospital staff understand that while carers may wish to be actively involved in looking after their loved one, they should not be expected to provide all care, nor feel duty bound to do so, and should be encouraged to take regular rest periods.
If the carer does wish to be actively involved, the nurse in charge will determine that it is safe and appropriate for them to do so.
More information for carers is available to download in our Dementia Care in the Acute Hospital Setting leaflet at the foot of this page.
It includes information about the different categories of dementia and offers advice on caring for someone with the condition, as well as where you can go to get support yourself.
If you want to print the leaflet, you should select your printer’s double-sided printing option and set the page orientation to ‘Landscape’.
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