Bus-less ‘bus stop’ to help reduce anxiety in dementia patients
24 May 2019
Bus stops are something we are all familiar with, but a bus stop in the corridor of the emergency department of Southend University Hospital is something far more unexpected.
Although it features a bus stop sign, a timetable and a bench, there won’t be any buses stopping. it will never have a bus actually stop at it. It is part of a joint project between the hospital and Arriva buses to help dementia patients feel less agitated when they visit hospital.
Sarah Ecclestone, Practice Development Clinical Skills Nurse,
explained how it will aide patients: "Unfortunately, patients with
dementia often have short term memory problems and can become
agitated in unfamiliar surroundings, often wandering, with the
common theme of patients wanting to go home.
"Although patients may have short term memory loss, they are
often able to recall familiar everyday landmarks from their long
term memory and a bus stop can be one of those.
"Research has found that individuals become much more relaxed at
the sight of a bus stop, sitting down and waiting for their 'bus
home'. It is something they often become fixated upon, and this
installation will help put them at ease and take away some of that
To help realise the bus-less bus stop Sarah and Senior Sister
Hazel Stacey contacted Arriva, who have been a great source of
support and shared in the passion of bringing this project to help
dementia patients to life.
Colin Wright, General Manager for Arriva Herts & Essex,
said: "We are delighted to be involved in such a thoughtful
project. When Southend Hospital first approached us, we were
honoured to be considered, and even happier to help. The work that
the hospital and colleagues do is invaluable to the most vulnerable
members of the local community, and anything we can do at Arriva to
support this is very important to us as a business. If the bus stop
makes even just one person smile, we'll consider it a success."
Image: Lee Burvill-Eclkett - Project
Coordinator from Arriva, Sarah Ecclestone - Practice
Development Clinical Skills Nurse, Craig Taylor - Marketing Manager
from Arriva, Hazel Stacey - Senior Sister and Colin Wright -
General Manager from Arriva
Notes to editor
The bus stop is just one of the changes the department have made
to help this vulnerable group of patients and help provide them the
best possible experience whilst at Southend Hospital.
Signs and badges are all now on yellow backgrounds - which
allows patients with dementia and other sight problems to be able
to read them more easily...
'Socks', a fake cat that purrs and breathes, has been introduced
and she has already helped patients feel less agitated when giving
her a calming stroke or cuddle on their laps.
Finally, a specialist pain score assessment is now being used
for those patients who are unable to verbalise their pain and
discomfort, is now being used. This allows staff to administer the
most appropriate and effective pain relief.