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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Butterfly scheme launched to help patients with dementia

Butterfly scheme launched to help patients with dementia

Posted on Tuesday 9th October 2012
butterfly logo

A new campaign has been launched by North Cumbria University Hospitals to support patients with dementia and memory impairment.

Called The Butterfly Scheme, it aims to improve patient safety and wellbeing by teaching staff to offer a positive and appropriate response to people with memory impairment and allows patients with dementia, confusion or forgetfulness to request that response via a discreet butterfly symbol on their notes.

The Butterfly Scheme was devised by a carer whose mother had dementia, following two years of consultation with hundreds of people with dementia and their carers. The scheme also supports anyone whose memory isn’t as reliable as it used to be, or whose current medical condition is causing them to feel confused.

When a patient or carer opts into the scheme, a discreet butterfly symbol will be placed next to the patient’s name. This prompts all staff to follow a special response plan, known as REACH.

Andrea Tomlinson, Matron for Nursing Standards, said the Butterfly Scheme had been well-received at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital since its introduction in September. “It has been adopted in hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales and the opt-in rate when people are offered the scheme is consistently very near 100%, showing that carers very much appreciate the scheme. We expect the take-up to be similarly high in our hospitals.

“The programme will be very useful in helping staff to provide the best possible care to patients with dementia and memory impairment by following the special response plan. Dementia isn’t always easy to identify immediately and the butterfly symbol will alert staff to give the appropriate care."

The scheme was introduced after staff at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust suggested it would work well on Jenkin Ward at West Cumberland Hospital, where many of the patients have a diagnosis of dementia.

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