Tea parties save cash and help the patients

Betty Mudd and Kelly Lane.

Betty Mudd and Kelly Lane.

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Good old fashioned tea parties being held on a dementia ward at the hospital have allowed staff to slash the security guard budget by 99 per cent.

Many of the patients on Ward 20 at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary are elderly and suffer from chronic illness which leaves them at high risk of malnutrition and dehydration.

Up to £40,000 was being spent in a year on security staff to manage the patients challenging behaviour and frequent falls.

But after staff on the ward introduced drinking tea out of bone china cups and allowed patients 24 hour access to snacks and drinks, they have reduced their yearly budget for security staff to just £250.

Ward manager, Nicole Dixon said: “Small things like introducing tea out of a bone china tea set, instead of giving our patients a beaker and a straw, which may previously have required a nurse or healthcare assistant to assist the patient, are making a huge difference on the ward.

“We witnessed one patient, living with severe dementia, immediately recognise the china tea cup and saucer and pick up the teacup and drink unaided. We then got her a bowl of jelly and she was able to eat that too, which she loved! This small change is really helping to boost nutrition and fluid intake rates amongst our patients.”

Since starting the tea parties the nurses have already seen some impressive results.

“We have seen a clear reduction in harms associated with poor nutritional and fluid intake on the ward such as falls. We are seeing happier, less-agitated patients, which has also resulted in a reduction in our use of security guards. Over a one-year period, we have seen spend on security reduce from £40,000 to only £250 which is an incredible reduction and shows us how much happier our patients are.”

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “This is nursing at its absolute best.”