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Acute trusts lift visiting restrictions for carers of patients with dementia

Every acute hospital in England to ease visiting restrictions as part of John's Campaign 

Every acute hospital in England to ease visiting restrictions as part of John's Campaign 


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All acute trusts in England have promised to lift visiting restrictions for carers of people with dementia.

They have contributed to a 'book of pledges' as part of John’s Campaign, which aims to make hospitals as welcoming to carers of people with dementia as they are to parents of children.

John’s Campaign was founded in 2014 by Julia Jones and writer Nicci Gerrard following the death of Ms Gerrard’s father, who had dementia.

Ms Gerrard said her father John's health declined irreversibly after a five-week stay in hospital and he returned home a ‘broken man’.

The book of voluntary pledges has been presented to England’s chief nurse Jane Cummings and is available online. In addition to acute trusts, a number of mental health and community providers and clinical commissioning groups have added promises.

The importance of looking after carers

Barts Health NHS Trust, for example, now offers carer badges so carers are easily identifiable to staff when visiting outside usual visiting hours. 

Barts Health chief nurse Caroline Alexander said:​ ​‘Carers know their family and friends best, so looking after carers is integral to helping us provide high-quality care.’

‘Many individual nurses have embraced this and it’s important directors of nursing have also taken ownership’

Julia Jones

Ms Gerrard said: 'John’s Campaign is a movement of people all over the country who are committed to making hospitals kinder and safer places for their most vulnerable patients. Jane Cummings has been crucial in this movement, she gave us encouragement and practical support from the start.

'More needs to be done to make this universal – but for now we can say that a milestone has been reached.'

Involvement of mental health providers

Julia Jones said the next stage of the campaign will be to get all mental health trusts on board: ‘The experience of carers of people with dementia and mental health problems is quite varied, there are some mental health trusts that offer really imaginative involvement and support but I’ve come across some that seem completely blinkered in the way they treat carers – and that's not good for their patients.

'The acute trusts have opened the gates for us all to move forward. Although the extent of the welcome to carers does vary widely from trust to trust, many individual nurses have embraced this and it's important directors of nursing have also taken ownership.’

NHS England national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health Alistair Burns said: ‘I will continue working closely with the campaign so that together we can bring further improvements.’


Related material

The book of pledges 


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