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Berkshire Healthcare introduces ‘bus stops’ for Dementia patients

Bus stops

We have recently introduced two 'bus stops' on the wards at Wokingham Hospital to serve as a comforting reference point for our Dementia patients, providing them with a sense of familiarity and recognition if they start to feel confused or disorientated, whilst receiving care in a hospital setting.

For patients suffering from Dementia and other memory-related conditions, an unfamiliar hospital environment can be quite unsettling, leading to patients seeking out people and places they recognise.

Studies have shown that by creating a focal point which is universally recognised, such as a bus stop, patients will automatically be drawn towards it and take a seat. The bus stops at Wokingham Hospital are located near the nurses’ station so healthcare workers can join the patients at the bus stop, engage them in conversation, and provide the necessary reassurance and comfort as needed.

This innovative approach was first pioneered in Germany back in 2008 and is designed to offer patients a sense of familiarity and recognition, while ensuring they remain in a safe and secure location within the hospital.

The inspiration for the bus stops came from Tracey Wheeler, a member of staff on the Inpatients Ward at Wokingham Hospital, who heard about the initiative being successfully introduced at other healthcare organisations and read about the positive impact on patients.

She said: “Installing bus stops in our wards provides a place of respite for our patients with Dementia. The unfamiliarity of hospital settings can be especially unsettling for Dementia patients and can leave them feeling disorientated. The bus stop is a universally recognisable place, and this sense of familiarity can provide a huge amount of comfort.”

Following the success of the bus stops, we plan to introduce more at Wokingham Hospital and also some at Prospect Park Hospital.

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