A group of 17 nurses, family and friends came together on Saturday to ride the zip line challenge in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda to raise money for patients with dementia in Ysbyty Gwynedd.
Sharon Jones, the Matron on Glaslyn Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd, was really scared about taking part, but wanted to do so because all the money she and others have raised will help make some very important changes on the ward:
“We were all pretty scared but chose to challenge ourselves in this way to face our fears as similarly we recognise that it is very scary for patients with dementia to come into the hospital but it is still necessary for them to be admitted as they are unwell and they are not able to avoid their fears.
We are raising money to adapt Glaslyn Ward to better meet the needs of people with dementia and make the ward more welcoming.
Changes to the ward environment may be small, but they can be very costly. They may be small changes for you and me, but they’ll make the world of difference to people with dementia in North Wales."
“We need to get things right for people with dementia, particularly because the number of people with dementia is increasing.”
Across the world there are estimated to be 30 million people with dementia, with a new case every 7 seconds. In North Wales there are estimated to be 20,400 people with dementia, and by 2021 this will have increased by 26%. Figures show that two thirds of all medical beds are occupied by people aged over 65 years and a third of this group have dementia.
Clare Wilding, a staff nurse on Glaslyn Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd who organized the day said:
“We’re raising money for patients with dementia on Glaslyn Ward and we’re having a fantastic day out together – what a brilliant day!
“There are lots of simple ways we can improve the physical environment on the ward to enhance the care that people with dementia receive in the hospital.
“People with dementia can be easily disorientated, and disorientation can lead to an increased risk of disturbed behaviour and increased risk of falls. We are planning to change the layout of the ward to make life easier, and nicer, for people with dementia.
“We need to remodel the whole ward as there is no day space at present; patients currently spend the day by their beds with very little interaction with others. We need to change the entrance to the ward and the toilets to make them more accessible for people with dementia.
“We also need to change the flooring, as people with dementia perceive highly polished surfaces as being slippery and dangerous and are less likely to want to get out of bed as a result.”
“We are now continuing our fundraising efforts and looking forward to our next feat to hike up Snowdon at the beginning of September, none of us have done it before so it’s going to be another challenge."
Kirsty Thomson, Head of Fundraising at Awyr Las, the charity for better healthcare in North Wales says:
“Through Awyr Las lots of fantastic fundraisers and kind donors have already helped make significant improvements in the quality of dementia care across North Wales. Over the past year the charity has supported the ‘Butterfly scheme’, which helps members of staff learn how to communicate more effectively with patients who have dementia. Now there is a real need to enhance hospital environments so they are more suitable for people with dementia.
“Over the next three years we can all really help make these important changes to the environment which will really make a difference to people with dementia on Glaslyn Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd.
“We’re encouraging people to get involved and to challenge themselves like these brave nurses to help raise the money needed to make these changes. I’ve been really inspired by the passion of these wonderful nurses and I hope that others will be too.”