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Home   Tunbridge Wells   News   Article

Serina Gurung, first Dementia Buddy to volunteer at Maidstone Hospital in line with NHS scheme

18 July 2014
by Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

A scheme encouraging people to volunteer to help patients with dementia in Kent hospitals has recruited its first member. 

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has signed up its first Dementia Buddy, Serina Gurung from Maidstone. 

Serina, 24, will be volunteering around three times each week on John Day ward at Maidstone Hospital.

Serina Gurung with the Trust’s Dementia Buddy co-ordinator Natalie Emerick

Serina Gurung with the Trust’s Dementia Buddy co-ordinator Natalie Emerick

She will be helping patients with dementia, making sure they receive enough social interaction, take them to appointments within the hospital, assist with food and drink and provide information to carers and relatives. 

Serina, said: "I am delighted to be involved in the voluntary Dementia Buddy Scheme.

“After recently completing my biomedical sciences degree I wanted the chance to combine my medical knowledge with getting more involved in my local hospital and doing something that was personally rewarding.”

Each volunteer is given specialist training by the charity and the Trust before being allowed on the wards.

Buddies receive training in dementia, falls and cultural awareness as well as nutrition and hydration.

Maidstone hospital

Maidstone hospital

Natalie Emerick, Dementia Buddy co-ordinator for the Trust, said: “A Dementia Buddy is a very rewarding and much needed role that can make all the difference to a patient with memory problems and their families, ensuring they receive the best possible care.

“Time is a valuable commodity on the ward and a dementia buddy volunteer’s sole responsibility and focus is on the patient providing company, stimulation and one-to-one attention, especially at meal times.”

John Day ward at Maidstone Hospital and Ward 31 at Tunbridge Wells Hospital have been chosen to pilot the scheme, which is run in partnership with the Trust and charity Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services and will run for 12 months.

Anyone  interested in becoming a volunteer Dementia Buddy should contact Natalie Emerick on telephone 07961 501291 or email natalie.emerick@alz-dem.org

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