STAFF in older person mental health wards are set to adopt new badges to help patients living with dementia.

Staff in the Ablett Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan and Bryn Hesketh Unit in Colwyn Bay will wear new badges, which feature a large black font on a high contract yellow background.

The new introduction follows a partnership between staff from Bangor University and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to help frontline NHS design new ways of delivering care.

The badges have been designed to make them easier for patients with dementia to read; Information shown on traditional NHS name badges is complex and difficult for patients with dementia to read.

Steve Forsyth, BCUHB director of mental health nursing, said: "These new name badges will help to better utilise the time patients spend with us in hospital by making it easier for them to build therapeutic relationships with our staff.

"It’s a wonderful example of a simple, small change can make a real difference and we’re very grateful to the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) students for their ongoing support.”

The new dementia friendly name badges will also be worn at the Cemlyn Ward at Cefni Hospital, Anglesey.

Staff will not adopt the badges in the rehab or adult mental health wards at the Ablett Unit.

The collaboration between staff from Bangor University and the health board, to design new ways of delivering care, is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

It has seen Bangor University students use a specialist branch of psychology called Applied Behaviour Analysis to improve patient care. ABA involves an attentive observation of the person with dementia and their behaviours and the meticulous collection and analysis of data. This is then used to design interventions that will address that person’s individual needs.

Their work has led to a number of improvements, including changes in the way that furniture is positioned on hospital wards and changes to how meals are served to encourage social interaction.

The dementia friendly name badges is an adaptation to the national ‘Hello, my name is’ initiative.

Dr Rebecca Sharp, director of the masters in ABA at Bangor University’s School of Psychology, who set up the partnership with Dr Carolien Lamers, consultant clinical psychologist who works for BCUHB and Bangor University, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to be at the forefront of using behavioural approaches, whilst working collaboratively with staff to find innovative ways to support patients with dementia on the ward.”

Dr Lamers added: “ABA as a specialist branch of psychology has a lot to offer to help staff develop different approaches for patients with dementia, who require the specialist care of an inpatient setting.

"We are very pleased that following our research on Cemlyn ward, these new name badges are set to be rolled out to other Older Persons Mental Health Wards across North Wales."