As we can all understand, it’s unusual for hospitals to be able to be in a position to bring in care improvements at the moment. That made me especially delighted to be approached by Matthew, a third-year Apprentice Operating Department Practitioner at an established Butterfly Scheme Trust, with a fantastic piece of work he’s doing to try to enhance safety for people living with dementia. He had become aware of the potential dangers to people who became agitated during theatre processes, especially when they were undergoing spinal anaesthesia – and of course it’s extremely important that patients stay still during that process and don’t entangle or disturb crucial lines and tubes.

Matthew had started to explore giving patients with dementia alternative – but often similar – items to hold or handle; they can then examine that item, rather than pull at anything which could cause them harm. He reported that this often pleased the patient and their agitation was noticeably decreased. Some other teams have apparently done work towards the same goal and he’s keen to pool knowledge. It will be very interesting to watch the progress of this work as time passes – but how wonderful that someone is able to look towards improvements in dementia care at a time when so many who usually strive constantly to improve further are still facing too much pressure to do so.

I also find it inspiring when someone in the training phase of their career is aware that any one of us can perhaps come up with ideas that will further improve dementia care. At a time like this, looking towards a brighter future is more uplifting than ever.