#ExpOfCare Blog: Johns Campaign

Monday 20th March 2017 by @JohnCampaign

By Julia Jones @JohnCampaign 

Please support John's Campaign: for the right to stay with people with dementia www.johnscampaign.org.uk

“It enabled him to remain the person he was for as long as he could.”

Sunday evening’s emails brought me two gifts. The first was a brief account, from a granddaughter, explaining how and why John’s Campaign had helped her family. Dail Maudsley Noble’s grandfather, Alan, an ex-policeman, was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. This inspired her to find out everything she could about the condition. Dail became a dementia champion and in November 2014 she was one of many who read Nicci Gerrard’s article about her father, Dr John Gerrard, which marked the founding of this campaign.

“When the article caught my eye, purely as it was headed under ‘dementia’, I wondered what tragedy could have possibly befallen Nicci’s father, John. Of course, on reading I realised the cause wasn’t the dramatic incident I’d imagined, but a simple infection and the circumstances in the hospital, which were nothing to do with his actual condition. To be frank, it shook me to the core. How could something so innocuous, so simple have had such a devastating effect? More importantly, why had no one highlighted that this could happen, given dementia is so prevalent? WHAT IF THAT HAPPENED TO US? The thought stuck with me.”

When Alan fell and broke his hip in 2015 Dail told her family that they must stay with him as much as possible. She doesn’t say which hospital it was or whether they encountered any difficulty – I hope they were welcomed. Over the next few months every member of Alan’s family spent time with him. “The support of his family in such an unfamiliar situation was crucial to his health and well-being. It enabled him to remain the person he was for as long as he could.” Alan and his wife Jean celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary together 8 weeks after admission and, when he finally died, still in hospital, it was an infection that took him, he was not lost to his dementia.

This is a tale of dignity and person hood. This is what it means to include the people who really matter throughout a hospital admission.

Also in the message box on the same evening came detailed figures on fall reduction from “Safety Sam” Foster, Chief Nurse at the Heart of England Trust. They have signed up to Johns Campaign as part of their wider introduction of open visiting throughout their three hospitals. The reduction in falls was one of the first benefits Sam and consultant geriatrician Helen Chamberlain noticed. Now they have the statistics to prove it: “Older people are across all of our areas – but the medicine division 4 has the most elderly and some of their wards are below 2.9/1000 bed days now – which considering the Royal College of Physicians national audit came out at 6.63/1000 bed days average this is excellent.”

“I could go on and on about how positive this has been,” writes Sam, as she reflects on the introduction of open visiting –  and she is talking about far more than falls reduction. John’s Campaign has been called “the epitome of person-centred care” and that’s what the NHS is all about. “The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does.” That’s what the Constitution says. How can anyone believe it is acceptable to limit access from the most important people in any patient’s life at their time of greatest need. Without the support of his family “my wonderful gentle loving grandfather Alan could not have remained the strong and above all happy person he was right until the end.”

Thank you Dail Maudsley-Noble and your family and thank you Sam Foster and the Heart of England Trust.


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