John’s Campaign campaigns for extended visiting rights for the family carers of patients with dementia in hospitals throughout the UK, and was founded on 30 November, 2014 by the writers Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones.
In February 2014 Dr John Gerrard, aged 86, spent five weeks in hospital. He had Alzheimer’s Disease and his family’s visiting time was severely restricted because of a combination of normal visiting hours and an infectious outbreak. His condition deteriorated dramatically while he was in hospital; having previously been living well with Alzheimer’s he became ‘skeletal, incontinent, immobile, and incoherent’ and needed 24-hour care. He died in November 2014.
His family believe that the lack of contact with familiar people and of the individual attention they would have given him contributed significantly to his deterioration. In November 2014, after her father’s death, Nicci Gerrard wrote a well-received newspaper article on the subject. An edition of the newspaper printed a week later subsequently featured several supportive letters and the campaign developed thereafter.
In March 2016 it was announced that the campaign had been endorsed by the NHS.
Support for carers
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) recognises that carers have a unique understanding of the needs of a person in their care. All decisions we take about care from diagnosis to the end of life will be guided by what our patients want, working together with their families and carers.
What does this mean for carers?
Following assessment and where deemed appropriate, BTHFT offers open access visiting to support carers who wish to stay with the person they care for. This includes the option of staying overnight. Facilities to support this will vary across the organisation, however we will make attempts for this to happen in all areas.
Wards 29 and 31 have a shared facility for carers who wish to stay overnight. It offers a quiet space for carers away from the ward with refreshment facilities.
Please note: COVID-19 is on the increase nationally and like all NHS trusts, Bradford Teaching Hospitals is seeing an increase of pressure on services. The Trust is doing everything possible to keep patients and visitors safe. We have reviewed our visiting guidelines and have made the decision to keep the following restrictions in place:
Inpatients in our hospitals for over 21 days
Visiting for inpatients who have been in our hospitals for more than 21 days is allowed for one hour by one dedicated visitor for two visits a week on most wards. Some wards will remain fully restricted to protect our patients and visitors. Clinical areas will contact visitors to organise these visits.
Please do not visit unless this has been agreed with the clinical area – every visitor will have to undergo a risk assessment.
Two parents or carers can swap in and out for visits/stays.
Labour Ward and Birth Centre
Birth partners can stay for the duration of labour. This person is not interchangeable. M3 and M4 patients can make one-hour visits at a pre-arranged times between 1-5pm, except on the day of discharge, from one dedicated person, the birth partner.
Women will be allowed to have one adult with them for the first dating ultrasound at around 12 weeks. This person must be the birthing partner or from the same household or bubble.
AED department supportive visits
One visitor will be allowed to be present where a patient is being treated in the resuscitation area or High Dependency Unit of the Accident and Emergency department.
The Trust will continue to support end-of-life visits, difficult conversation support, and support carers to attend where the patient needs physical or cognitive support – with restrictions in place on the length of visit and the number of visitors allowed. The Trust has put in place a number of resources to support family members unable to visit patients:
- Our Relatives’ Telephone Information Line takes calls for some of our wards. Please contact the ward or relatives’ line to see if the clinical area in question is using this service. Please call 01274 272747 from 10:15am to 5:30pm
- Thinking of you is a dedicated email address for loved ones to send letters via email to our patients: ThinkingOfYou@bthft.nhs.uk
- Many wards have video calling in place and may be able to assist with video calls where there is no visiting
Please note: Visitors to Bradford Teaching Hospitals under exceptional circumstances and people attending outpatients’ appointments must now wear a face mask at all times to protect them and others from coronavirus. It is important masks and face coverings are worn safely.
Anyone showing any symptoms of coronavirus should not visit. If you are in a high risk category i.e. you have an underlying health condition that puts you at risk of COVID-19, you should also not visit. For more information on our current visiting policy, please click here.
Involvement in care decisions and planning
Carers provide vital supporting to our patients who have a dementia, and we recognise the expertise and value they bring to patients’ care and treatment. We will strive to address both the needs of the patient and carer during the time a patient with dementia is in our care.
Carers will be encouraged to discuss any problems or concerns they identify with the ward team.
- Carers will be provided with information and advice so that they can make informed choices about how they can access support
- Staff are trained to listen, advise and provide sensitive, informal emotional support
- Staff can refer carers to community support services for information and advice on being a carer, including any entitled benefits.
- Staff will support carers who wish to take respite following an admission of the person they care for.
- Carers will be given the opportunity to discuss and be involved in decisions made around discharge
- Working closely with community services we will, where possible, ensure that all needs of the patients and carers are met prior to discharge
How will I ensure this will happen?
- Carers are encouraged to discuss their needs and expectations on admission and at regular intervals when appropriate
- BTHFT has a shared care record where details of carer discussions and plans of care can be recorded
- Carers will be provided with a carer’s passport on identification. It gives carers agreed access to the ward, which can be shown to staff if needed.
- At BTHFT we have a separate Dementia Strategy which can provide you with more detailed information on our promise to improve care and experience for people living with a dementia
- John’s Campaign also has an external website.