The introduction of ‘natural awakening’ for patients on ward B2 at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda helps patients who live with dementia feel more at home and less agitated.
Two years ago, ward two at Ysbyty George Thomas implemented natural awakening for their patients.  It benefited patients so much that it has now been rolled out to another ward and hospital.  Ward manager Phillip Hawker from Cambrian ward at Ysbyty George Thomas said: “I am so pleased to see that natural awakening’ has worked on ward B2 at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda.
“People who live with dementia need familiarity and don’t like change.  Having a friendly ward environment and a structure put in place that’s as similar to their home life as possible can benefit the patient’s well-being while at hospital enormously”.
Deputy ward manager, Gemma Price-Davies who introduced natural awakening on ward B2 said:  “For someone who is frail, vulnerable and has dementia, being admitted to hospital away from their familiar environment at home can be overwhelming and very distressing for them. Letting patients wake up naturally will provide a safer, calmer environment during their hospital stay.
“Although hearing acuity tends to deteriorate with age, older people’s hearing can be particularly sensitive to some sounds.  A typical day on a ward with people talking, staff rushing around, machines beeping, telephones ringing, food trolleys in and out of wards can disturb patients sleep; which in turn, leads to increased agitation, aggressive behaviour and reduced tolerance for pain.
“To create the dementia friendly ward, we started by redecorating our day room to make it more homely – it’s now a calming environment with home comforts and our patients love to spend time here.
“We sit with patients and reminisce, we carry out activities like music therapy and bingo, and this creates stimulation for them during their day.
“Staff have changed the way they work.  Handover is now in a separate area away from patients, phones are diverted so no ringing can be heard on the ward.  Fire alarm test times have been changed from 9am to 1pm, and no access is given on the ward before 11am.
“Breakfast is made fresh on the ward so patients can eat when they are ready.  With all these new ways of working, patients are now left to go to sleep and wake on their own accord in a noise free peaceful setting”.
Staff nurse Stanley who works on the ward said: “Since the change in the way we work our patients appear to be more settled and less agitated than they were previously. Staff on the ward see it a much calmer place to work.

“The stimulation the patient’s now have throughout the day from therapy also seems to be having a positive impact with nutrition and hydration levels improving”.

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