For many years I’ve been closely involved in Dementia Strategy at my local hospital, so when I heard of Dignity Boxes being used in another hospital, I was keen to pass on the hack.
Don’t know about Dignity Boxes? They’re plastic, large enough to hold specs, hearing aids and false teeth.
Too simple to make a positive difference? Think again. Imagine you’re being wheeled to theatre; you have poor sight and hearing, and possibly a dementia, yet you’ve had to leave your communication aids in the ward; the journey is a blur, muffled voices come and go, and you hate appearing in public without your false teeth.
Now imagine you arrive in the theatre ante-room with your aids still in place, you’ve exchanged banter with the porter and feel more in control. As the anaesthetist gets to work, a nurse gently removes your aids…and stores them safely in a box, with your name on it. When the operation is over, they’re restored to you, so you come round without further confusion.
You’ll probably be wheeled to a different ward, to find your other belongings piled on the locker. Later, you might even enjoy dinner, or even some lovely, crunchy toast. Unlike a lot of patients.
Around 80% of the compensation budget goes on replacing lost aids and teeth, so Dignity Boxes are good for the NHS, too. It really is worth passing this hack on to your local hospital.