Can you spare a few hours?

A CHARITY for the elderly has set up a new service for dementia sufferers in Knutsford.

Knutsford’s centre for dementia sufferers, Bexton Court, was shut in spring 2012, but this week older people’s charity, the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly known as WRVS) has launched a Dementia Befriending scheme in the town.

The charity is calling on residents to dedicate a couple of hours a week to help those living with dementia in the community live happier, healthier, independent lives.

The charity will be working with the NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver the service, which will run alongside the recently launched on-ward Dementia Befriending scheme at Macclesfield Hospital.

Befriending volunteers will provide support to dementia sufferers before a stay in hospital, ensuring they are fully prepared for their visit, as well as providing support at home once they return from hospital.

This support will help to provide a calm environment to soothe those who use the service, discuss concerns about a pending hospital admission and encourage them to eat and drink by offering support with food shopping and preparation.

Jo Roberts, service manager for the Dementia Befriending services in Eastern Cheshire, said: “We are really pleased to be launching this innovative new service, which will help provide ongoing support to dementia sufferers and their families before, during and after a stay in hospital.

“The support provided from the scheme will improve the experience of care for dementia sufferers and their family by helping them to stay well in the community and reduce the number of readmissions into hospital.

“We need more people to join our befriending scheme to allow us to help as many people as possible; whether it is an hour or an afternoon a week, it will make a real difference to the lives of those who use the service.”

Dr David Hans from NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This scheme will really help to support patients suffering from dementia when in the hospital setting and in the community.

“It will be exciting to see the impact this collaboration between the Royal Voluntary Service and the CCG has on improving care and support for this vulnerable group and their families.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to make a difference and has some spare time to volunteer.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a day or an hour – whatever you can spare it will make a difference.”

People can access the service through a referral by their GP or by the Knutsford Neighbourhood Team.

If you are interested in finding out more about the service or volunteer opportunities contact service manager Jo Roberts on 07582 469205 or Johanne.roberts@royalvoluntary service.org.uk.

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