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Dementia is a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain function, due to physical changes (damage) in the brain. It is not only about memory loss, it can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave. There are hundreds of types of dementia – the most common being: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Frontotemporal dementia. To find out more please visit: What is dementia - NHS

It is estimated nationally that around 25% of people in hospitals have a diagnosis of dementia. Hospital is a busy, unfamiliar environment – which can also be very scary for someone who may not understand why they are there and what interventions are being done to treat them.

Our Dementia and Delirium Team at West Suffolk Hospital 

We have a Lead Nurse for Dementia and Delirium and Dementia Practitioners, who between them provide support Monday-Friday between 8.30am and 4pm, for patients living with dementia, their family carers, and ward staff caring for them. Due to our small team, we cannot visit every person with dementia – ward/department staff are trained to provide routine care and provide reasonable adjustments. Our team is here to support and offer expert advice with complexities relating to dementia – whether that be, for example, family carers support and signposting or when a person with dementia is not adjusting well to the hospital so may display some challenging behaviours.

We also support with people experiencing delirium, and have a Delirium Discharge Nurse within our team.

Contact the team


office number: 01284 712859


Documents and information whilst in hospital or accessing our services:

Patient profile – this document tells us all about our patients! This can help staff engage positively with people with a dementia diagnosis, if they are unable to express this themselves. It also allows us to provide preferences such a food and drink. The patient profile is found in your Carers Pack, and you can fill in the patient profile electronically.

Carers pack – this pack is available to any family carer of someone who is staying in hospital. If it has not yet been given to you, please ask the ward staff for one. It includes a badge to identify you as a carer as well as information on car parking and café discounts, open visiting, patient profile, clinical helpline and carers support in the community.

The ‘Forget Me Not’ identifier – On the patient boards that are located behind the beds for anyone who is an inpatient, there are several symbols, or ‘identifiers’. The forget-me-not should be ticked for all patients with a diagnosis of dementia. We know that dementia and people’s needs vary hugely, however this allows any member of staff who may not be accessing the medical notes (for example the ward hostess or porters) to instantly identify that the person may need extra time, or some reasonable adjustments to support them.

MyWiSH and the memory walk – Over the years, My WiSH charity have supported with Dementia Friendly initiatives and have their own dedicated ‘fund’ for these projects called the Forget-me-not appeal. The memory walk was installed several year ago and begins by the corridor leading the wards G3/G4/G5. It includes photos of local sights, and memorable items from decades from the 50’s-80’s. It is great to take a trip down memory lane and is enjoyed by patients, visitors and staff.

MyWiSH have recently funded meaningful activites for the wards to promote wellbeing – including CD players, colouring, puzzles, dominoes and cards. There are plans currently to carry out further environmental adaptions on ward G4, our department of medicine for the elderly, to support a dementia friendly environment.


Support in the community:

Dementia Connect – Dementia Connect is a personalised dementia support and advice service for anyone affected by dementia. Through Dementia Connect our expert dementia advisers will listen, help with all your dementia-related questions, and connect you to the support you need, from local help to phone and online advice.  Dementia Connect - Suffolk | Alzheimer's Society.

Suffolk Family Carers – Whether you have recently found yourself in a caring role or have been an unpaid family carer for a while, Suffolk Family Carers can offer advice and guidance, workshops and courses, a listening ear, support in hospitals and helping you find time for yourself. Suffolk Family Carers | Support for unpaid family carers

Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) – The DIST is available to patients who are struggling with dementia and functional mental health problems usually over 75 years of age but not exclusive. The team provides 4 Hour Urgent and 120 hour assessments for those patients requiring intensive support from mental health services. Self referrals or queries can be made through or 01284 719818

Memory Assessment and Therapy Service (MATS) – MATS supportthe adult population (all ages) of West Suffolk with symptoms of mild to moderate dementia who have not already received a diagnosis. Referrals are requested by the GP, so please alert them if you have concerns yourself or for a loved one. This form may support you to communicate concerns to your GP: Checklist for possible dementia symptoms | Alzheimer's Society (

For your information, more advanced presentations of dementia may be diagnosed by the GP or hospital. There is a current wait list, however in these months Dementia Connect will support you. For MATS queries, contact

Dementia UK – A specialist dementia nursing charity that provides free support and advice for anyone affected by dementia. Trained Admiral Nurses are available every day of the week on their helpline: 08008886678 Also there are many helpful fact sheets available on their website about everything from nutrition to financial support. Specialist support to families facing dementia - Dementia UK

Alzheimer’s Society – A charity which supports people with dementia and their loved ones. There are lots of helpful fact sheets from making your home dementia friendly to continence advice. They also have an online community free to join. Dementia Connect is part of the Alzheimer’s Society (see above) Alzheimer's Society (



We welcome your feedback both positive and areas for improvement, which can be communicated using the patient experience survey in the Carers Pack. Alternatively, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service 01284 712555 or email


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