Chichester nursing students help support dementia patients

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Up to 50 nursing students at the University of Chichester are offering their support to families affected by dementia in the local area, as part of an award-winning national project.

The Time for Dementia scheme, funded by Brighton and Sussex Medical School, pairs trainee healthcare professionals with those who may be facing challenging times, helping build their understanding of how dementia affects both the patient and their carer. Local representatives from Alzheimer’s UK are also supporting the scheme.

The undergraduate students from the University of Chichester will visit the families they have been paired with three times a year, over two years, to listen to their experiences. By getting to know the families and exploring topics that affect them, they will help contribute to a better future for people with dementia.

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Kerry Buss, who is studying for an BSc Adult Nursing degree said: “I’m very excited about starting on the project. We get to see the changes over the years and see the challenges in people’s homes. I have personal experience from my gran and anything that can help increase knowledge around dementia can only help improve services. Hopefully the more this happens the more we can break down the stigma around the disease.”

Nursing students at the University of ChichesterNursing students at the University of Chichester
Nursing students at the University of Chichester

Dr Nita Muir, Head of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at the University of Chichester said: “It is a privilege to join this innovative national scheme and I’m sure that our students will benefit from this real-world experience. Understanding what life can be like for both dementia patients and those who look after them will help our nursing students to become the compassionate and highly-skilled health professionals that the country needs.”

There are also plans in place to expand the project in 2024 to include 50 more students studying Physiotherapy to join the visits. The Physio students will be able to bring their understanding of frailty and the risk of falls to offer a different perspective on support that the families may need.

Betsy Routledge, also studying for Adult Nursing BSc, said: “I think it’s really important that any healthcare professional has knowledge about dementia as it pops up in all kinds of settings. It will be interesting to follow someone’s journey and be able to help and support their family.”