Bus stop with a difference on Gateshead Ward

Posted on Tue, 21/08/2018

A specialist ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead is using a realistic indoor bus stop to help support patients with dementia.

The bus stop, which looks just like the real thing, has been kindly supplied by local operator Nexus and is designed to offer some familiar and friendly signs for people coming into a hospital environment.

Vicky Jobson, a senior nurse at the hospital says the new idea is really helping patients feel more at home when they’re admitted.

“It provides a familiar sight that people are used to rather than a really clinical environment of a hospital. It’s something that’s been used in nursing homes but is quite rare in hospitals. It’s also a place where our patients can gather and talk with other people or interact with our staff.

“Many of our patients have been on busses all their lives and it helps them to reconnect with memories or have discussions about the past which can be an important part of their therapy,” she explains.

It also helps patients have a familiar and safe area that can calm challenging behavior or ease difficult situations.

“When they see a bus stop on the ward it enables patients to sit down, take a break and become calmer. This sort of initiative – alongside all the other activities we provide -can then have a wide range of benefits, from reducing challenging behaviour, through to increasing nutritional intake and hydration, improved sleep patterns and overall wellbeing,” she adds.

Customer Information Manager at Nexus, Michael Lennon, said:  “We’re honoured to support the dementia unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by donating this bus shelter. A bus stop is a great memory aid and we hope that it will be of great benefit to dementia patients and the hospital staff providing them with daily care.”

Aaron Walton is one of the hospital’s activities coordinators whose role involves speaking to patients, finding out about their interests and hobbies and providing engaging activities during their stay in hospital. He says the bus stop is really helping hospital staff to engage with patients.

“Coming into hospital can be a frightening and disorientating experience for anyone, but particularly those with dementia. This provides a calm, familiar area that people can come into when they’re feeling confused. This is now a key part of the ward where patients can spend some time or talk with staff.”

Providing therapeutic activities that help entertain patients and relieve boredom or frustration are now a key part of the service at Gateshead. Some of the other activities that are organised for dementia patients at the hospital include film nights, pet therapy, local history talks, cream teas, film nights, ballroom dancing and sporting memories sessions.


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