Heberden Ward at St George’s has been awarded a Quality Mark for the care it provides to older people, including those with dementia.

Louise Clancy (pictured), Senior Sister on Heberden, says the award is a real boost for staff on the ward, as well as patients and their relatives: “The Quality Mark is a real pat on the back for everyone” says Louise. “It is great for staff to be recognised in this way.”

The Quality Mark for older people wards is a quality improvement programme run by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The assessment process involved the collection of information and feedback from ward staff, clinicians, managers, as well as observations of care on the ward from external assessors. Patients and their relatives were also asked for their feedback about the care provided.

“All staff are trained to help older patients experiencing dementia or delirium, which a hospital stay can aggravate” says Louise. “We’ve also done a huge amount to improve the environment of Heberden ward for patients and relatives. For example, we have made changes to signage on the ward, so it is now at eye level and much easier for patients to see.”

She adds: “We have also changed the colours of the doors, so patients find it easier to remember which room they are being looked after in. Longer-term, we have bigger plans for the ward, which include transforming the day room into a living room, as well as a projector that we can use to show old films as a way of helping patients relax and feel at home.”

Only 36 wards nationwide currently have the Quality Mark for care of older people, and means staff on Heberden have made a real difference to the care we provide to patients and their relatives at St George’s.