PEOPLE with dementia will soon be able to rely on extra support from staff when they visit outpatient clinics at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

'Ask for Help' is a scheme designed to be inclusive and person centred by providing extra help to patients with dementia as well as their relatives or carers.

The type of help that is provided through the scheme depends on the needs of the individual.

For example, previously when a patient has been called in to a clinical area a relative would stay in the waiting room. Now a relative can come in to the clinical area which can make it less stressful for patients.

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It can also let staff know that extra staff may be needed to make the patient feel comfortable or that they may need to spend longer with a patient to reassure them and make them feel at ease.

The initiative has been in place across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s imaging and nuclear departments for over a year after initially being started by one of the diagnostic directorate dementia champions in the diagnostics service.

It is now being rolled out over the summer and autumn in order to benefit a wider range of people at the Vale.

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Dr Margaret McGuire, nurse director for NHSGGC, said: “Our staff at the Vale will work with patients, families, friends and carers to make hospital visits as positive as possible. All requests will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

“Any patient who feels they would benefit from extra help can speak with a receptionist or any staff member in a department to ensure all appropriate staff know the person may require extra support.

"Our Dementia Steering Group identified Ask for Help as being one of the priorities in our Acute Dementia Group work plan to help further improve dementia care.

“As a board, we take part in the National Dementia Champions education programme and now have more than 350 nurses and allied health professionals who have completed the course and are keen to involve more staff groups.

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“Our dementia champions play a central role in improving the experience, care, treatment and outcomes for people with dementia, their families and carers while in hospital.

"They wear eye-catching badges to ensure they are easily recognisable.

“We are always looking to identify areas of good practice and I firmly believe this will have a very positive impact on our outpatient clinics.”