As I write this, we’ve just held the national silence recognising the loss of keyworkers, very much including NHS and other hospital staff, some of whom were team members at Butterfly Scheme hospitals. Their care as individuals has been widely praised; they will forever be held close in many, many hearts.
Amidst all this huge sadness and strain on hospital staff, however, dementia care quality is still a priority. One Lead has recently consulted about using the Scheme’s online education toolkit so that more colleagues could be brought up-to-speed; that impressed me greatly, especially at a time when so many staff are working in unfamiliar parts of the hospital and in unfamiliar roles. Yes, we usually prefer face-to-face learning sessions, but during a time when that can’t happen we should certainly use our other resources. Another Lead has been setting up online and video clinics for people living with dementia, to offer them specific support. I already know how dedicated the teams are and none of this surprises me, but I thought it might be worth sharing here, just to demonstrate that excellence in dementia care is far from being disregarded.
Carers have been in touch to ask what happens if their loved one with dementia or possible dementia ends up in hospital. Some have simply wanted to know who to speak to, how to get someone onto the Scheme or where their nearest Butterfly Scheme hospital was; they’re trying to prepare, just in case. I also know that there are fabulous team members out there who, despite all the pressure, are managing to make sure they link with carers so that they can each give and receive what the other needs to make things the best they can be.
I see Tweets from staff, quite rightly celebrating post-Covid discharges – but I know without any doubt at all that just as much care and compassion will have gone into those with a sadder end to their journey. Many families have praised the support and kindness shown during hospitalisations of loved ones. Again, none of this surprises me one little bit. Through Twitter, I spotted one of the member hospitals receiving some of the wonderful Captain Tom’s fundraising, so that a room could be equipped as a rest area for staff who wouldn’t normally be working in that part of the building; what a difference that must be making!
Amid great sadness, then, there should be huge pride in what people are achieving in order to support others. I hope anyone who’s not previously witnessed the phenomenal care – including dementia care – that so many hospitals and healthcare teams deliver, every minute of every day, takes time to recognise it now.