Dementia friendly ambulances hit the road
30 January 2020
Two new ambulances have been given a revamp to help make them more dementia friendly for patients.
The ambulances, which have only just gone on the road, have had
images of Southend seafront and the beach huts in Chalkwell added
to their windows. This is to help make them less clinical looking
and be more inviting.
It's a joint project between Southend University Hospital and
the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST). Ambulance crews will
also carry individual patient resource packs for patients.
These packs include knitted twiddle muffs and twiddle blankets,
giving dementia patients something to do with their hands and help
stop agitation. There is also a CD player with a range of calming
And they are already proving to be a huge hit. On the first day
on the road one of the ambulances picked up a dementia patient from
a care home. The use of music helped to calm them during their
Sarah Ecclestone, Senior Sister in the Emergency Department at
Southend University Hospital, said: "It's such a simple idea, but
will make such a big difference to dementia patients. We already
have these on the wards, they make a huge positive impact on
patients. This is just extending that on the road. The inside of
the ambulances are also more welcoming for children and patients
with learning difficulties."
Laura Spears, Assistant General Manager for EEAST in South
Essex, said: "This is a really exciting project and we are hoping
that it makes a big difference for many of our patients in the
community. We are looking forward to hearing some of the feedback
over the coming weeks. The dementia ambulance was a joint
initiative with the hospital and we are already considering the
possibility of launching something similar in other areas, if we
can fundraise in conjunction with local trusts."
Chris Eastty, an amateur photographer from Leigh-on-Sea, took
the images used inside the ambulance. He is also an Emergency
Department Flow Coordinator at Southend University Hospital.
The images were installed by Radwraps and the project was funded
by the dementia fund at Southend Hospital Charity.