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Practice-related feedback: Giving people with dementia a voice on visiting hours

Improving access for carers of patients with dementia meant staff nurse and PhD student Liz Charalambous sought feedback from rarely heard voices

Improving access for carers of patients with dementia meant staff nurse and PhD student Liz Charalambous sought feedback from rarely heard voices

Liz_Charalambous_
Liz Charalambous works to achieve flexible
visiting times for people with dementia.

Changing visiting times so that relatives and friends of people with dementia can stay with their loved ones is a passion of mine. I decided to explore visiting times as part of my master’s degree in advanced nursing and set out to research what could be improved.

I spoke to dementia champions and nutrition link nurses, and used social media to network more widely with the public. I used national, regional and trade media coverage to spread the word and find out what was needed.

Rich rewards

Working collaboratively, and using the feedback I gathered from a wide range of often unheard voices, led to hospital visiting times and policy being changed at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. As a result, patients with dementia now have the option of 24/7 access to their loved ones.

Through this work I spoke at the national conference of John’s Campaign, which is calling for carers to be welcomed in all settings. My wish was to speak for all the nurses who have been fighting for visitors to have these rights for years.

I learned from the feedback gathered during this research that change is slow and takes longer than expected. I also learned to listen to all those involved and not presume that my ideas would be disregarded. Working collaboratively reaped rich rewards.

Previously silenced

Feedback from relatives helped me understand how my work gave a voice to people with dementia who had previously been silenced. It has consolidated my belief that patient and public involvement is crucial in order to ensure a better service, and I will continue to collaborate with service users.

This research related to many areas of the Code, including working cooperatively, communicating with colleagues and evaluating and preserving the safety of care. I shared information to reduce risk, and respected and upheld people’s human rights. I also shared my skills, knowledge and experience for the benefit of my colleagues and of people receiving care.

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