Jonny Brownlee21May’s highlight has to be attending the official opening of the A & E / ED department at Airedale Hospital in Yorkshire. I was honoured to be ambassador for the fundraising campaign which enabled the hospital to include a dementia-friendly Butterfly Room within its new department. When top-class triathlete Jonny Brownlee officially opened the department on 12th May it was a very happy occasion indeed

The Butterfly Room is designed to minimise the distress of a person with dementia in what is typically a very stressful, loud, fast-moving environment. It enables noise to be greatly reduced, even making it possible for monitoring equipment to be checked from outside the room, removing the typical beeps that can so worry a person who lives with dementia. Everything from the flooring to the view upwards from a lying-down position has been adapted to reduce distress and actively reassure and calm the patient. Crucially, there is space for the person’s usual carer to be by their side, continuing to reassure and support them through their time in A & E.Jonny Brownlee20

Let’s hope all A & E departments can in future incorporate rooms which actively support people with dementia, for whom familiarity and routine are so important. A visit to A & E is most certainly a long way from familiarity and routine, but Airedale Hospital is showing how the stress of a person with dementia can successfully be minimised during their time there.