Carers gain 24/7 access to dementia patients with nurse-designed ‘passport’

Visiting hours restrictions have been lifted for carers of patients with dementia at a large trust in London, following the introduction of a “passport” designed by nurses.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust nurses are now handing out cards – known as “carer’s passports” – to carers of vulnerable patients or people with dementia across all of the organisation’s five hospitals. The card allows them to visit whenever they want.

Designed by clinical nurse specialists Bethany Cotton and Marcelle Tauber, the business-card-sized “passports” are being accompanied by posters displayed outside each ward, welcoming carers and stating the trust’s wish to work closely with them.

The trust said traditional hospital visiting times did not allow carers to carry out their “important role” in helping vulnerable patients with “everyday life experiences” and hoped this new initiative would improve patients’ time in hospital.

“As a trust we have always been innovators and the carer’s passports are a simple way to ensure that carers can work in partnership with our hospitals and improve the experience of our most vulnerable patients,” said Jo James, lead dementia nurse at the trust.

The new policy has been supported by the patient group John’s Campaign, which is calling on the government to ensure all hospitals allow families and carers of people with dementia to visit them at any time of the day.

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