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Wristbands for hospital patients

PUBLISHED: 13:34 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:26 05 July 2010

It may not appear much but this simple yellow wrist band is at the forefront of providing the best care available to sufferers of Alzheimer's and dementia.

It may not appear much but this simple yellow wrist band is at the forefront of providing the best care available to sufferers of Alzheimer's and dementia.

The James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, has issued the bands to dementia patients so that nurses can quickly and easily assess their special needs.

The innovative scheme is the brain child of Gordon Steward, of Carlton Colville, who noticed that nurses were sometimes unaware of his wife's Alzheimer's until they read her medical notes.

Mr Steward wrote a letter to the hospital suggesting that patients should don a wrist band to make them instantly recognisable to nurses and doctors.

The hospital was so impressed by the idea that it immediately started to trial the yellow bands for patients in its orthopaedic ward.

Mr Steward, 87 and a member of the Lowestoft and Waveney branch of the Alzheimer's Society, said: “When my wife Joan came into hospital I realised that many nursing staff were unaware of her dementia until they were told or read it in her notes.

“The wards can be so busy that I felt it was important to have something that would help hospital staff to be aware of my wife's illness quickly.

“I am thrilled that letter I sent could have been taken so seriously and it is great that my idea is already helping other patients like my wife.”

At any one time up to 20 patients with dementia a day are treated at the hospital, which now plans to extend the successful band initiative across the whole site in the next few months.

Angela Wilson, practice development nurse said: “The pilot scheme has been a great success because nurses find it so much easier to identify patients quickly and to be more attentive to their needs.

“It has been really exciting to develop an idea from a patient's relative and I hope this will encourage more people to come forward with suggestions that can make a real difference to the hospital.”

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