Going to Accident and Emergency (A&E) in the hospital is a scary experience. For people living with symptoms of dementia it could even be traumatising. Now, one hospital has built a replica bus stop in their A&E waiting room to calm anxious dementia patients.
Southend University Hospital, in Essex, has erected the makeshift bus stop to ensure patients with dementia can feel at ease by seeing an object which is familiar to them.
Living with dementia can be extremely stressful for people, leading to anxiety and nervous tendencies due to confusion or lack of understanding. This simple step is set to be incredibly effective.
Senior nurse at Southend University Hospital, Sarah Ecclestone was quoted as explaining: “Research has found that individuals become much more relaxed at the sight of a bus stop, sitting down and waiting for their ‘bus home’.”
“Unfortunately, patients with dementia often have short term memory problems and can become agitated in unfamiliar surroundings, often wandering, with the common theme of patients wanting to go home.
“Although patients may have short term memory loss, they are often able to recall familiar everyday landmarks from their long-term memory and a bus stop can be one of those.”
It is estimated that over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK – this figure is expected to rise to over one million by 2021.
Dementia is an umbrella term to explain a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain.
There are over 200 known subtypes of dementia, with the five most common including: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.
Being in a hospital environment is never a first choice – we all desperately want to return home as quickly as possible. For dementia patients, it can be confusing information to process that you can’t go home at certain times.
The thought of the bus stop is to be seen as a recognisable object that people can ‘wait’ at and return home. It is hoped the bus stop will be a distraction from the hospital environment.
Sarah continues: “It is something they often become fixated upon, and this installation will help put them at ease and take away some of that anxiety.”