BBC features London NHS physios’ exemplary dementia care

A physiotherapist-led exercise class for patients with dementia at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust featured in BBC news programmes on 18 January.

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Kingston NHS Trust physiotherapist Rachel Gifford leads dementia-friendly exercise sessions

Olivia Frimpong, the trust’s service improvement lead for dementia, said the broadcaster filmed the class on the day the Alzheimer’s Society launched its Fix Dementia Care campaign.

The campaign follows the charity’s finding that there is an ‘unacceptable national variation’ in the quality of hospital care across England.

Ms Frimpong said that because life expectancy in the south west London borough of Kingston is high, nearly half the hospital’s beds are occupied by people with dementia and the condition is a key priority for the trust.

‘So we have a dementia strategy and are unique in providing a comprehensive range of activities,’ she said.

‘We run a timetable, including lunch clubs, memory cafés and an exercise class led by a physio twice each week.’

The trust’s three physios and two support staff who work in its care of the elderly team take it in turn to lead the classes. Meanwhile, the activities team sets the classes up and helps patients to and from the sessions.

‘The patients really enjoy it,’ said Ms Frimpong. ‘And when they have done a class, they often stay in the activities room for the lunch club.’

The Alzheimer’s Society’s findings are detailed in a Fix Dementia Care report. This shows what the organisation’s chief executive Jeremy Hughes described as a ‘Russian roulette’ of care, because many are missing out.

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