The Royal United Hospital’s (RUH) Dementia Care Service is working in partnership with its primary charity, The Forever Friends Appeal to provide an inspiring and progressive approach to caring for people with dementia.

About the Friendly Faces Project

Often a hospital stay for a patient living with dementia can be quite distressing and confusing. At the RUH 75% of our patients are over 65.  Of that patient group, some 30% suffer from dementia – but may be in hospital for other treatment.  That makes dementia a key issue when caring for all our patients on a variety of wards.

The Friendly Faces Project recruits volunteers who can come in to the RUH and go on wards across the hospital and be a ‘friendly face’ during the patients stay. A friendly face can simply be having someone to sit and talk to, playing a game of cards, or even singing! It also provides various sessions on the wards including a movement class, and art sessions.

The project’s three-year aim is to provide patients with outstanding dementia care, with the vision of becoming the leading dementia friendly hospital in England by 2020. It works in partnership with The Alzheimer’s Society, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and Research Institute for Care of the Elderly (RICE) to provide this important service.

A full-time Volunteer Coordinator (employed by the Alzheimer’s Society) organises the Friendly Face Volunteers and works closely with the hospital’s Art at the Heart charity to provide volunteer-led activities on the hospital’s wards and departments.

Why we need your help

In its first twelve months, our Friendly Faces volunteers have spent over 980 hours with patients who have dementia.

The aim of the project is to provide an estimated 160 volunteer placements and 4,800 hours of care to patients with dementia at the RUH.

We successfully raised enough core funding for the project to launch. The Forever Friends Appeal is now working on expanding the project to reach more patients with dementia at the RUH.

How you can get involved and support this Special Appeal

More volunteers are needed to help on this project. If you can spare some free time and are a good listener, please contact Tracy Williams, the Alzheimer’s Society Side by Side Coordinator

email: T.Williams@alzheimers.org.uk

Funding is also needed to continue the project running over the next two years. Please see over the page how you can show your support.

How you can get involved and support this Special Appeal

There are many ways you can support The Forever Friends Appeal:

  • Make a donation online today via our website
  • Set up a monthly direct debit from your bank account to the Forever Friends Appeal
  • Take part in one of our fundraising events and pledge your sponsorship to this Special Appeal
  • Fundraise at your place of work or donate through payroll giving
  • Leave a gift in your Will

Volunteer Story – Sally

Sally is a volunteer on the Friendly Faces Project and shared her experience with us, she said: “Recently I met a lovely, elderly lady who, as part of her dementia was coping with aphasia, the effects of which meant she struggled to compose the random thoughts in her brain into coherent communication. However, I had been told that this lady had been an opera singer and loved singing still. My singing ability is more enthusiastic than competent, so I was not sure how our meeting would progress.

“On entering the ward, I saw the lady looking very dignified, but also looking very confused and worried. I introduced myself, smiled and waited, and talked about the weather, without much response. Then I mentioned that I had heard she loved singing. She then flung her arms wide and sang “Yes, how wonderful!” I talked for a while about my limited knowledge of singing and classical music; then she said “Let’s sing!” and I sang with her. My side of this duet was far from tuneful, but she took it upon herself to attempt to teach me to sing in tune, or at least in a way which would harmonise with her.

“I could see she was happy and I felt happy that we had made a connection. I continued to see this lady for several weeks and, each time, we sang to, and with, each other. One day, just before Christmas, I was greeted in the Ward corridor by my lovely friend, wearing a festive red coat, ready to go home. When we went to say goodbye, she opened her arms wide for a hug and told me she was at last, going home – I was pleased for her, but sad that I would probably not see her again. I hope she is happily singing away with those who are taking care of her and she is teaching them as she taught me.”

 

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