Purple Heart Project launched in Emergency Departments

Craigavon Area Hospital ED Sister Shauna Colyer and Naoimh McGlone Service Improvement Lead for Dementia are pictured launching the Purple Heart Project with Gerard Doran and Peter Alexander, Dementia NI members who were part of the ED Quality Improvement group who developed the Purple Heart Patient leaflet.Craigavon Area Hospital ED Sister Shauna Colyer and Naoimh McGlone Service Improvement Lead for Dementia are pictured launching the Purple Heart Project with Gerard Doran and Peter Alexander, Dementia NI members who were part of the ED Quality Improvement group who developed the Purple Heart Patient leaflet.
Craigavon Area Hospital ED Sister Shauna Colyer and Naoimh McGlone Service Improvement Lead for Dementia are pictured launching the Purple Heart Project with Gerard Doran and Peter Alexander, Dementia NI members who were part of the ED Quality Improvement group who developed the Purple Heart Patient leaflet.
A project to support patients living with Dementia or experiencing confusion during their visit to hospital is being rolled out across Emergency Departments in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals.

The Purple Heart project has been developed by Craigavon Area Hospital ED Sister Shauna Colyer in support of patients coming into the department with dementia and has launched as part of Dementia Action Week (13-19 May).

Shauna said that they want to “ensure that people needing additional support are identified at the outset of their hospital journey.”

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“Hospitals are busy places and can feel overwhelming for anyone, but they can be especially stressful for people with Dementia, Delirium or experiencing confusion,” she said.

A purple wristband will be placed on patients within the Emergency Department so that hospital staff recognise they have difficulty with their memory and can offer support if needed.A purple wristband will be placed on patients within the Emergency Department so that hospital staff recognise they have difficulty with their memory and can offer support if needed.
A purple wristband will be placed on patients within the Emergency Department so that hospital staff recognise they have difficulty with their memory and can offer support if needed.

“The project simply allows Emergency Department staff to place a purple heart on the patients notes and the patient is also given the opportunity to wear a purple wristband so that hospital staff recognise they have difficulty with their memory and can offer support if needed.

“In doing so we are making them aware that this patient requires extra support when they are making decisions or choices.”

As part of the project, the ED team engaged with Dementia NI on how they can support dementia patients in ED.

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“As their journey continues through ED, we support them with the ‘This is Me’ document. This document is created in partnership with the relatives or carers of the family member and is aimed at providing staff with additional information about the person, their preferences, hobbies and interests to support engagement, reduce distress and promote dementia informed care.”

Trudy Reid, Director of Medicine and Unscheduled Care said: “Recognising the changing age demographic within the Trust and a projected rise in the number of people living with Dementia, staff recognised the need to implement new strategies to effectively support patients living with Dementia, or experiencing confusion.

“Our team within the Emergency Departments strive to provide patient-centred, compassionate care on a daily basis and the addition of the Purple Heart Project will allow staff to take more time when communicating with patients who have difficulty understanding information and offer additional help or support with tasks where needed.

“Other departments are seeing the work Shauna is championing and can see the benefit of changing their approach to how we care for people living with Dementia.

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“We are already seeing positive feedback come through Care Opinion regarding the compassionate care provided within the CAH ED department, demonstrating the value of this approach to care across all areas within the hospital.”

Staff have also met with members of Dementia NI and developed a patient information leaflet that helps a person with Dementia understand their journey through the Emergency Department.

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