Students to work with dementia hospital patients

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trusts Voluntary and Community Development Team have launched their first group of Connect with Dementia Volunteers on Viking Ward at Crawley Hospital and at Zachary Merton Hospital in Rustington
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trusts Voluntary and Community Development Team have launched their first group of Connect with Dementia Volunteers on Viking Ward at Crawley Hospital and at Zachary Merton Hospital in Rustington
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Life in hospital can be boring for dementia patients – but a group of students will be looking to change all that.

The 20-strong group has been trained by NHS staff to become dementia volunteers, and will be working at Zachary Merton Hospital in Rustington and Viking Ward at Crawley Hospital to socialise with patients and improve their experience.

We are very positive about the impact this youth social action brings

Brenda Henson and Nicky Silk

As part of the Connect With Dementia initiative, the students have learnt from senior staff about communicating using reminiscence technology training, which is invaluable for patients to interact with games, music, films, quizzes and puzzles. Ben is one of the volunteers. He said: “It’s great to be able to help people with degenerative illnesses and to make a difference to their lives. It’s also helping to equip me with skills that I need for my future career.”

Brenda Henson and Nicky Silk, volunteer managers for West Sussex, said: “We are very positive about the impact this youth social action brings, not only by offering additional support and time to patients but it also gives young people increased understanding of the healthcare system, increased community involvement, development of their skills and an increased sense of wellbeing.”

For more information about volunteering with the NHS, visit sussexcommunity.nhs.uk/volunteering.

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