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MP David Evennett visits dementia unit in bid to challenge 'unacceptable stigma' surrounding mental health

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 25 April 2017

David Evennett visiting the Holbrook Ward

David Evennett visiting the Holbrook Ward

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The Holbrook Ward reopened in February after a 10-month refurbishment

MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford David Evennett, visited the dementia unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, broaching the issue of the ‘uacceptable stigma’ surrounding mental health.

Mr Evennett was given a tour of the Holbrook Ward, before visiting the Bexley Memory Service, on Friday, April 21.

The Holbrook Ward is a specialist intensive care unit for those with advanced dementia, and the Bexley Memory Service provides assessment, diagnosis and treatment for people who are experiencing difficulties with their memory. Both services are run by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

In February, the Holbrook Ward reopened following a 10-month refurbishment, and now includes a lounge, dining area, kitchen, indoor potting shed, ladies’ hair salon, launderette and activity room, all decorated with feature retro wallpaper with a 1950s reminiscence theme.

The kitchen is fully-functioning and can be used by visitors to make a cup of tea or eat a meal with their loved one – with the aim of encouraging patients to use these skills and not lose them.

Modern matron Angela Williams, said: “We provide person-centred care, an approach developed by professor Thomas Kitwood, who has pioneered dementia care since the 1990s.

“This means that we provide care which values the person’s sense of identity and their occupation that meets their need for attachment and comfort and is inclusive. This type of care has been shown to support people with dementia to communicate and engage in day-to-day activities.”

Service manager Rachel Matheson, added: “For many of our patients, they come straight from their home into hospital which is a very difficult time for them. By coming into an environment that looks and feels more like home than a hospital, we hope they will feel more at ease and the transition can be made easier.”

Mr Evennett praised Oxleas from the work they do, he said: “For too long there hasn’t been enough focus on mental healthcare in this country, and the issue has been surrounded by unacceptable stigma leaving many to suffer in silence.

“We want to transform the way we approach mental health problems across society and at every stage of life, making changes in our classrooms, at work and in our communities. This government has been determined to ensure anyone suffering from mental health problems receive the compassion, care, and the treatment they deserve.”

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