John's Campaign for patients with dementia

My Aunt had to be admitted to hospital, and although she has dementia, I was told that she did not have the right to be supported by family because of Covid restrictions. The family was told that she would be allowed 1 visit per day. At the first visit I could see that she was no longer drinking and eating independently. I asked to have the visits extended to cover meal-times so that she had a familiar person to prompt her, advocate for her and help her communicate with staff. She was very ill at the time, and I believe that this approach made a significant difference to her recovery.

For example, I was able to prompt her intensively to drink on her own again and explain, in a way that she understood, that it was important for her to keep doing this.

Staff had not considered the hospital passport that she brought with her from her care home, and she had been without her much needed glasses for several days. She had delirium and research shows that being without glasses/hearing aids can contribute to this distressing condition.

She had been left in front of a tv which was left tuned in to continuous Covid news and this made her very anxious…

She had tested positive 14 days before but was still being isolated despite her official isolation period being over.

I believe that the presence of a close family member really did make a big difference to her. This was validated by the Matron in charge of the ward who said that they would use my Aunt’s story to train staff. A decision was also made to stop the blanket ban on John’s Campaign ( for the right of people with dementia to be supported by their families). I emailed my regional healthcare PALS who replied -

“We are sharing your comments with the Northern Trusts and commissioners and also with the wider Healthwatch network to see what is happening nationwide. Your example shows that if visits can be made safely they are of benefit to everyone involved.”

I hope our experience helps others in a similar situation.

Well done. The things you have mentioned are so simple for anyone to do. Sadly staff in hospitals don’t seem to understand how important simple things like supporting someone to have a drink, or wear their glasses, are.
Nursing training is so technology based now, perhaps at the expense of patient care and comfort.

Several years ago, “Carers Welcome” was one of the WI’s national campaigns. If it’s of interest, you can read more about it here: Carers Welcome | National Federation of Women's Institutes

It’s not just dementia patients, my mum’s care was far from satisfactory many times.