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.
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.