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West Suffolk: Support growing for hospital’s Forget-Me-Not dementia appeal

PUBLISHED: 09:07 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:22 23 April 2014

Staff giving Easter treats to dementia patients including hot cross buns and some Easter eggs. Left to right, Rachelle Chaplin, Trixie Doughlas, Robin Tuck, Wendy Farrell, Robert Ogden.

Staff giving Easter treats to dementia patients including hot cross buns and some Easter eggs. Left to right, Rachelle Chaplin, Trixie Doughlas, Robin Tuck, Wendy Farrell, Robert Ogden.

A fundraising campaign to enhance facilities for patients with dementia while they are staying on the acute wards at West Suffolk Hospital has struck a chord with local people.

Nationally, about 820,000 people are living with the condition, with an estimated 3,400 of those in west Suffolk.

The hospital, which regularly treats patients with acute conditions who also have dementia, is already improving awareness training for staff.

And now the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign – being run in conjunction with the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister Mercury titles – has set a fundraising target of £25,000 to help provide a comfortable, safe and supportive environment for people with the condition.

So far, several small fundraising initiatives have taken place – such as a Lent lunch in Lavenham which raised £200 – with bigger events planned over the coming months.

The appeal has also been given a significant boost with a grant of £5,000 from the St Edmunds Trust to kit out a special day room on Ward G4. While the day room will be for all hospital patients, it will prove especially important to those with dementia. The money will be used to decorate the room and pay for furnishings, including a sofa, chairs and television.

Julie Fountain, dementia lead at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “Patients with dementia can become anxious and distressed when in hospital, compounded by a lack of social interaction and purposeful activity.

“Providing a day room area can help with familiarity – by using recognisable furniture, traditional crockery and supporting meaningful activity. It will provide a calming place, easing any anxiety, away from the more clinical environment.

“It is something we have wanted for a long time, and thanks to the St Edmunds Trust, it is now possible.”

In addition to the generous grant, a group of volunteers raised £431.86 by carrying out a bag pack at Waitrose in Bury St Edmunds on Maundy Thursday.

The hospital’s fundraising manager Dave Gooderham said: “It was a really great atmosphere and we would like to thank all of the kind-hearted shoppers who gave so generously to such a worthwhile cause. We would also like to thank our 10 volunteer bag packers who did a marvellous job.”

In the spirit of the appeal, one of the hospital’s dementia champions, nurse Wendy Farrell, brought some Easter cheer to patients with dementia on Ward F3 last week. She provided chocolates, Easter eggs and hot cross buns and arranged for a musician to visit the hospital to entertain patients.

The Forget Me Not Campaign is aiming to raise £25,000 to provide a memory walk corridor, purchase reminiscence materials and kit out a day room. To support the appeal, donate at www.justgiving.com/forgetmenotcampaign or at any of the East Anglian Daily Times offices.

Call Dave Gooderham on 01284 712952 with fundraising ideas or email dave.gooderham@wsh.nhs.uk

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