Dementia Friendly Hospitals Charter Interview: Olivia Frimpong

Thursday 9 August 2018

As the relaunch of our Dementia Friendly Hospitals Charter approaches on 3 September the National DAA will be speaking to a selection of senior dementia specialists from hospitals that are signed up to the charter. Olivia Frimpong is Service Improvement Lead Dementia and Delirium at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and we spoke to her about her role and how the charter has been utilised.

1. Which hospital do you work in? Could you tell us a bit about it?

I work at Kingston Hospital NHS foundation trust which is a district general in south west London. Due to a frail elderly local demographic we tend to see a higher than average number of patients with dementia on the inpatient wards. We have 4 elderly care wards and 2 orthopaedic trauma wards where we see the highest proportion of patients with dementia.

2. What does your role involve?

As the dementia service improvement lead, it is my job to oversee delivery of our dementia strategy and continue to strive for consistently excellent dementia care. This focuses around 5 key areas:

  1. Staff training
  2. Improving the environment
  3. Active days and calm nights- engaging patients in meaningful activities during the day
  4. Working closely with carers
  5. Diagnosis and dementia screening.

My role is predominantly non clinical working on improvement projects.

3. Has the dementia friendly hospital charter helped you and your staff when providing care to people living with dementia?

Yes, in many ways. It was used to help develop the trust’s dementia strategy which has similar areas of focus including staff training, partnership with carers, improving the environment, active days and access to dementia screening. It has also been used to aid in decision making and supporting changes in practice.

4. Are there any particular elements of the charter that have been important in your hospital?

Have used the environment section to help evidence to changes in the environment throughout the hospital, i.e toilet doors all the same colour and involvement in all capital projects and signage strategy.

5. Why do you think other hospitals would benefit from signing up to the charter?

It gives a good overview to what makes a hospital dementia friendly and guides staff on areas for improvement to achieve consistently excellent dementia care across NHS hospitals

6. What is your favourite thing about working in your hospital?

Being able to exact real change for patients with dementia with full backing and support from the executive board. As the hospital has a higher than average number of inpatients with dementia, it is a focus for everyone from estates to board members to front-line staff.