John's Campaign


Downe Dementia Ward has joined “John’s Campaign,” to promote flexible visiting times for Dementia patients.

John’s Campaign was founded after the death of Dr John Gerrard in November 2014. John Gerrard had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his mid-70s but was managing to live a good, if limited, life at home supported by his family. He was admitted to hospital in February 2014, aged 86, to receive treatment for infected leg ulcers. During his five‐week stay visits from his family were severely restricted due to an infection outbreak and his decline was catastrophic.

John’s Campaign takes its inspiration from the campaigns of the 1960s which secured the acceptance of parents’ rights to remain with their children in hospital and children’s rights to the uninterrupted support of their parents.

Paula Thompson, Downe Dementia Ward Manager says, “We welcome carers and relatives 24/7, offering tea and coffee making facilities and overnight stay if required. We recognise how invaluable carers and relatives are in helping us provide person centred care. We are also members of the ‘Butterfly Scheme’ and have a growing number of volunteers supporting patients throughout their journey.”

The Butterfly Scheme allows people whose memory is permanently affected by dementia to make this clear to hospital staff and provides staff with a simple, practical strategy for meeting their needs. The patients receive more effective and appropriate care, reducing their stress levels and increasing their safety and well-being.

Paula concludes, “We know that the patient’s environment can affect their progress. People with Dementia require familiarity and reassurance from their loved ones. Carers should be welcomed as they are an essential part of the patient’s team.

The patient’s needs are at the centre of this access principle. Whatever supports their personal well-being is likely to make their medical treatment more effective and will promote their secure discharge."

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