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St George’s Hospital Charity funds guest beds for relatives of end of life and patients with dementia

19th December 2019

Foldaway beds have been in great demand across a number of hospitals in England. Despite already being available in St George’s paediatric wards, there was limited availability of these beds for relatives of adult inpatients in the Trust.

Foldaway beds make a massive difference to the patient experience as they allow family members to spend the night close to their loves ones in hospital. The chairs currently in many rooms are not suitable for those wanting to visit for longer hours or overnight, especially when the relatives themselves are elderly or frail.

St George’s Hospital Charity is happy to have been able to fund 12 Glideaway beds for the End of Life (EOL) and Dementia teams in St George’s Trust. These will make a particular difference to partners and family of patients to be able to spend more time with their loved one at this crucial time.

After recently signing John’s Campaign, St George’s Trust has become committed to ensuring that family carers of people with dementia are able to provide support to them in the hospital 24 hours a day. This has brought about a number of changes at St George’s, such as offering dementia carers extended visiting rights, and now the provision of these beds will allow carers to be properly accommodated overnight. The comforting presence of family carers throughout the night will also reduce the incidence of distressed and disorientated patients which could free up nursing time for other activities.

Lou McGregor, Clinical Lead- Dementia and AHP Therapy Consultant, said “The beds will enable more family carers to stay overnight in the hospital. Often those staying overnight are older themselves so the foldaway beds will really ensure that they are comfortable whilst being there to support their loved ones.”

Dr Catherine McGowan, Clinical Lead Palliative Medicine & EOLC agrees, saying “The provision of these foldaway beds is one of the small things that can make such a big difference”.

Part of the End of Life team’s strategy is to provide individualised care to dying patients and support their loved ones during a time that can be incredibly difficult. These beds are a small piece of comfort that can help. Moreover, the patients approaching end of life will feel comforted by the support and presence of their relatives and knowing that those important to them are being looked after as well.

St George’s Hospital Charity believe the funding of the Glideaway beds will allow for an extension of care from the patient to also encompass the people around them, and will make a real difference to the experience of relatives and carers at St George’s.

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