Opening party for new Woodside unit

Posted on Tue, 04/02/2020

A leading dementia unit for younger people has had a major refurbishment after moving to a new home in Gateshead.

Although dementia is often associated with the elderly, people can be diagnosed in their thirties or forties and the specialist Woodside Unit provides a wide range of support for local people and their families.

Staff, patients and families were celebrating at a special open day last week after the unit reopened in a completely refurbished area of Bensham Hospital.

The unit offers  a unique service providing care for people with young onset dementia using a specialised day hospital and community outreach support.

David Gilbert, mental health matron at Gateshead Health said: “Patients who are diagnosed with dementia before the age of 65 have complex needs because services are usually organised around the needs of much older people. The traditional healthcare services are inappropriate for younger patients and their families, especially if the patients are in their thirties or forties.

“Woodside gives people a place to go and build new peer relationships, maintain skills and learn how to manage the symptoms of their illness. Ultimately we aim to reduce the number of people going into residential care by supporting complex patients five days a week at the Woodside unit.

“We’re also working hard to try and reduce the stigma of having an early onset of dementia by raising awareness. Our unit is providing information and advice to GP services, neurology clinicians and social care teams to ensure that younger people with dementia have their unique needs recognised and adequately addressed.

“It’s fantastic to see how much these new facilities mean not only to our patients and their families, but also the staff providing care for them on the unit.”

The new look unit was revealed at a special opening party last week where patients, families and staff got to tour the facilities with chief executive Yvonne Ormston.

The unit had previously been housed at the Dunston Hill Hospital.

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