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Dad was ‘well cared for’ by Alzheimer’s unit resident

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Royal Gazette reader has come to the defence of the Island’s Alzheimer’s unit after the department came under fire.

UK’s Dementia Training Company recently called the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Unit at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital outdated, and reported no observations of meaningful engagements between patients and staff.

But Devonshire resident Debbie Lewis said the group only caught a snapshot of a day and failed to see the good work and commitment of the department.

“My dad was a patient in this unit for a year and half” she said. “During this very difficult time in his life it was very hard for my family to make a decision on a home that would treat him with the respect and dignity that he deserved.

“From the first moment we walked into the unit (totally unannounced by the way) the staff from BHB Chief of Geriatrics, Rehabilitation and Palliative Care Dr David Harries, down to the nurses, aids, activities staff, cleaners and kitchen staff we could not have asked for a better place.

“Staff members spoke to my dad with loving care and respect, some of them gave him endearing nicknames that made him laugh and smile. They were extremely gentle and thorough in his care even though there were times when restraint was required but this was done for his own protection and only lasted for a short period of time.”

She agreed that their could be some physical improvements to the facility, but said the unit has to work within the budget allocated to them.

“It is very hard to have a family member suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, but the peace of mind that I received knowing my dad was being well cared for helped ease this pain.

“We consider them family and even though our dad has now left this world I know we could not have provided him with a more safer, respected home to live out his final days.

“There were many patients in this unit that I never saw have a friendly face to visit with them. You will find that these patients are the most loving and kindest individuals you will ever meet — something you overlook when they are having a bad day. Trust me, you will be forever changed.”

Dementia Training UK visited the department in December, broadly criticising standards at the unit, including the use of restraints, clinical environment and a lack of engagement with patients.

The unit’s director Granville Russell responded to the report by saying it was implementing recommendations put forward by the inspectors, and said the hospital is working with Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia to improve the ward.

Mr Russell said at that time: ‘While the issues raised concerned us, we have been pleased about the growing relationship with Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

“It is one thing to provide a review, but the charity has stayed the course with us and become partners in improving the service and environment for our residents.”

Debbie Lewis, her father Raymond Baptiste and Izzie

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Published May 10, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 09, 2013 at 11:08 pm)

Dad was ‘well cared for’ by Alzheimer’s unit resident

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