It’s time for a change on dementia too

As part of Change Day, NHS England is supporting “John’s Campaign” which supports people with dementia.

The campaign calls for family and carers of people with dementia to be allowed to remain with them in hospital for as many hours of the day and night as necessary.

Campaigners point to the difference between the treatment of family and carers when it comes to being with sick children and people with dementia.

Nicci Gerrard, the woman who launched the campaign in the name of her father, said: “It is unimaginable that children used to be left in hospital without their parents. That battle was won long ago, and current NHS advice to parents is clear: ‘Stay with your child as much as you can.’

“People with dementia aren’t children. They are adults with a lifetime’s experience. Their needs are more complex, yet they’re not entirely dissimilar. They’re vulnerable and can be as distressed and disoriented as a child.”

Nicci explained that a hospital stay can be catastrophic for a person with dementia.

It was the death of her father, Dr John Gerrard, which inspired “John’s Campaign”.

Nicci claimed: “He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his 70s. He went into hospital in 2014, during which time he deteriorated drastically. He went in strong, mobile and able to tell stories about his past. He was able to feed himself, go the toilet, to keep clean. He came out skeletal, incontinent, immobile and incoherent, requiring 24-hour care.”

John’s family feel certain that he would not have deteriorated to such an extent if they had been allowed access to him in the ward for longer.