Edinburgh celebrates John’s Campaign

Organisations in the capital pledge to help relatives stay with loved ones with dementia

Friday 14th June 2019

Care homes and hospitals in Edinburgh are being encouraged to help carers and families spend time with loved ones with dementia when they’re no longer at home.

Edinburgh health and social care partnership is backing John’s Campaign, which encourages ‘small but significant’ changes so family members can continue to support those with dementia.

Ricky Henderson, who chairs the partnership’s board, says “carers should not just be allowed to visit but should be welcomed to be with their loved ones when they are ill.”

John’s Campaign was founded in November 2014 by writers Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, and endorsed by the NHS in 2016.

It was established in memory of Nicci’s father John Gerrard who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

After being hospitalised with leg ulcers, caregiver access was restricted which left John and his carers distressed. He sadly passed away while in hospital.

Over the last year, 65 Edinburgh care homes, community hospitals and older people’s wards have pledged to promote and support the campaign, which is also backed by Scottish Care, the representative body for independent care providers.

One Sighthill nursing home, Blenham House, said the campaign had led to “excellent interactions” with family members:

“One entire family moved in for the week leading up to a resident’s death – we gave them a lounge, which was conveniently next to their mother’s room, and they stayed here with her using the home’s showers, being fed by the kitchen staff and spending very special time together.

"Another gentleman comes to see his wife and have his meals with her. Another visitor comes every Wednesday to have breakfast with his friend. Our door is never closed and visitors know they can come and see their loved ones and friends whenever they would like to.”

Mr Henderson said: “It recognises that the connection between someone living with dementia and their carer is crucial to that person’s health and well-being. This Carers Week, we want people to know that we will support and encourage them if they would like to continue to be involved in providing care.”