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Volunteer donations helping to transform dementia care at King’s Mill Hospital

 Woodland Ward memory wall web

Ward sister Jackie Simpson and patient Frances Maycock, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield remember cinema greats at the memory wall at King’s Mill Hospital’s Woodland Ward



Fund-raising volunteers at King’s Mill Hospital have been praised for their contribution towards transforming the care of dementia patients.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Dementia Care Appeal has raised more than £193,000, so far, with £113,000 coming from volunteers through special events and profits from the hospital’s Daffodil Café.

This has been supported by cash from the Trust’s general trust fund with the cash going towards the £325,000 transformation of Woodland Ward, a 24-bed acute medical and mental health ward, which cares primarily for frail, older patients, often with dementia.

The cash – including more than £900 donated recently after the chair of volunteers Jill Smallwood asked for donations rather than gifts for her 60th birthday – has paid for a two-year programme of changes to Woodland.

These include:

  • Open bays, rather than separate rooms, so that vulnerable patients can be monitored more effectively
  • Removing nursing stations at either end of the ward and introducing mobile workstations so nurses can move to work closer to vulnerable patients
  • A dedicated dining room – making meals more of an event encourages patients to eat more, helping with recovery
  • Creating an end-of-life care room – in a quieter part of the ward where patients can spend time alone with family members
  • A memory wall featuring cinema idols and music heroes, nostalgia screens and electronic fish tanks – allowing patients to reminisce and providing talking points for patients, carers and staff
  • Colour-coded rooms and better lighting to help patients who might be disorientated
  • An activities room with dedicated supervisor– keeping patients stimulated means they are less likely to try to walk around the ward unattended, reducing the risk of falls.

Improvements were recognised by the NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission recently when informal, initial feedback singled out “outstanding” areas of care including Woodland, which they described as “amazing”.

The 40 nurses and health care assistants were also crowned team of the year in the Trust’s Nurse and Midwife of the Year Awards this year.

Ward sister Jackie Simpson described how the changes were making a difference to care on the ward.

“The ward has a much better feel and has become much calmer place, patients are kept stimulated, which helps their overall recovery. The dining area helps them eat more healthily and we have plans for a kitchenette so they can make themselves drinks.

“The work has also boosted morale and increased job satisfaction for staff, which is vital for future recruitment,” said Jackie.

Sherwood Forest also has a newly-appointed dementia lead nurse, Fiona McCandless-Sugg.

After a career in nursing education at the University of Nottingham, she returned to clinical practice in 2014.

She said: “I am really excited to be working here with a team of committed healthcare professionals who share my passion for high quality dementia care. It is vital that we learn from each other and continue to share best practice whenever and wherever we can,” she said.

 Woodland staff

Part of the team of staff working on Woodland Ward, King’s Mill Hospital’s acute medical and mental health ward