A new and innovative project providing vital support for patients with dementia has gained the backing of the RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal. In parallel to The Forever Friends Appeal’s core campaign to help fund a brand new cancer centre at the RUH, the Appeal also supports the wider work of the hospital and is currently raising funds for the Volunteer Dementia Project which will support patients with dementia and their families.

A quarter of all beds at the RUH are occupied by people with dementia, and hospitalisation can be a frightening and isolating experience for someone living with the condition. Supported by the RUH Dementia Care Team, our staff provide exceptional care and medical treatment for patients with dementia across the hospital.

Participation and socialisation are key aspects of care for people with dementia; making sure they are engaged and connected during their stay at the RUH can significantly aid recovery. Volunteers already make an enormous difference to dementia patients on our specialist older peoples’ wards, spending time with them and helping them engage in meaningful activities.

To ensure that all patients with dementia across the Trust are able to benefit from volunteer care and support, The Forever Friends Appeal have committed to funding the Volunteer Dementia Project.

The ambitious project aims to provide 5,000 hours delivered by 160 volunteers over the next three years. The pilot project will incorporate a ‘Volunteer Befriending Service’ to address loneliness – with patients matched with befrienders who will provide mental stimulation and companionship. ‘Volunteer Led Activities’ will play a key role in the project, with a programme designed to increase social interaction and reduce anxiety. Volunteers will be DBS checked and given full training so they are able to support patients who may be disorientated and distressed.

The Medlock Charitable Trust has very generously donated £100,000 towards the three year pilot scheme, which is expected to cost in the region of £194,000. The Forever Friends Appeal Team is busy raising the additional funds. If you would like to find out more or support the project please contact Trusts and Foundations Officer, Cate Everitt on cate.everitt@nhs.net or 01225 825900.

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