Buddies go to theatre with dementia patients at Wishaw General

Yvonne with her mum, Mary Devanney, and nurse Corinne Barrett.
Yvonne with her mum, Mary Devanney, and nurse Corinne Barrett.

Wishaw General Hospital is again at the forefront of helping people with dementia.

The hospital has launched ‘Theatre Buddy’, allowing relatives and carers to go with patients who have dementia to the operating theatre and stay with them until they have had their anaesthetic and gone to sleep.

Maureen Dobbin, senior nurse for theatres, said: “We feel passionately about doing more for our patients with dementia. As the first Scottish hospital to sign up to John’s Campaign across our all our wards, we were motivated to apply the same principles in our operating theatres.

“Going for surgery can be scary for any patient.

“When the person who is having the surgery also has dementia this can be even more traumatic.

“Now, at whatever stage in their journey through our hospital, patients with dementia do not have to feel confused, upset or alone.”

Yvonne Jeffery, from Netherton, was one of the first relatives to become a ‘Theatre Buddy’ when her mum, Mary Devanney, needed surgery on a fractured hip after a fall.

Mary (88) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago.

Yvonne said: “I was so glad I could be there for my mum thanks to this wonderful initiative.

“My experience of being a theatre buddy was excellent and I would recommend this.

“All of the clinical staff involved from start to finish were fantastic.”

And she added that she would like to thank the doctors and nurses with all her heart.

A new ‘Theatre Buddy’ trolley has also been introduced, with items to help calm the patient including stress balls and twiddle muffs. It also has iPods with songs from their favourite era and a theatre purse if they would like to take small precious objects, like jewellery, with them into the theatre.

Corinne Barrett, trauma liaison nurse practitioner, said: “Our team is committed to providing the best possible care for our patients.

“Thanks to John’s Campaign, we have been focusing more on how we care for our patients with dementia when they go to surgery. This inspired us to think about any improvements we could make and we thought we could give relatives and carers the same access as parents of the children that we operate on in theatres.

“As well as being there during the anaesthetic procedure, the relative or carer can also be with the patient in the immediate post-operative phase.

“This is a time that can be an extremely confusing for any patient, let alone patients with dementia.”