Bus stop placed on dementia ward to create familiar environment for patients


South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has provided Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s dementia ward with a special bus stop flag to provide reassurance and familiarity to patients living with dementia.

“Our Contact Centre received a call from one of the hospital’s nurses requesting if it was possible for SYPTE to provide the hospital with a bus stop flag to display on the Mallard ward as it has been proven that creating a more familiar environment for patients living with dementia can help them feel more relaxed”, said Tim Taylor, Director of Customer Services at SYPTE.

“We’ve donated bus stop flags to care homes in the past, so we were delighted when Doncaster Royal Infirmary asked if we could provide them with a brand-new bus stop flag. Going into hospital for any patient can be stressful but for people living with dementia it can be even more so as they are out of their usual routine and in unfamiliar surroundings. We hope our donation helps support the hospital in its bid to reduce anxiety for patients. From our visit to the hospital, it is clear to see that the ward staff are going the extra mile to help patients feel comfortable and relaxed”.

The bus stop flag, can be easily identified as one of SYPTE’s bus stops, but includes the number for Traveline instead of the location.

“As the hospital serves many communities we didn’t want to focus on just one place. If any patients call the Traveline number they will be greeted with a friendly and supportive response as all our Traveline employees undergo Safer Places training, which covers topics including how to handle calls from dementia patients”, explained Tim.

Beth Cotton, Lead Dementia Nurse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary added: “Hospitals can be a disorientating, and often frightening, place for people living with dementia. Alongside being unwell, patients face an unfamiliar environment whilst being separated from their home and loved ones. To aid with this, our Trust has many person-centred and bespoke interventions to help patients living with dementia feel more comfortable whilst they are here.

“We’re extremely grateful to SYPTE for creating a bus stop flag for us to display on the ward for our patients that like to walk around the ward, and sometimes want to find a little bit of normality and routine. Little things like this can provide an everyday activity for many of our patients that can have a calming and positive effect. We recognise that this type of intervention does not work for all of our patients but we want to make sure our staff and families have many options available to them. Mallard ward will be monitoring the use of the bus stop to see whether they see a reduction in anxiety and stress from our patients with dementia.”

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to work with Doncaster Royal Infirmary to support the amazing work they do with patients suffering from dementia. This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by public services listening to the needs of our communities and doing the small things that makes a big difference.”