Angus launch of Butterfly Scheme

NHS Tayside has launched the ground-breaking Butterfly Scheme for acute hospitals in Angus, which aims to improve the safety and wellbeing of patients with dementia.

The Butterfly Scheme was officially launched in Perth Royal Infirmary in January by founder Barbara Hodkinson and is now being adopted across all acute hospital sites in NHS Tayside, the first Board in Scotland to adopt the scheme. Barbara, a carer whose mother had dementia, officially launched the scheme for Ninewells and Royal Victoria Hospitals on Thursday and, on Friday, was in Forfar to mark the roll- out of the scheme to Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre, Stracathro Hospital and Arbroath Infirmary.

Wards and departments at the three hospitals were invited to send a representative to the launch in Forfar, who were encouraged to be ‘champions’ of the scheme for their area.

The scheme allows people whose memory is affected by dementia to opt-in to having a discreet butterfly symbol placed next to their name.

This alerts staff to the fact that this patient has requested ‘butterfly’ care, outlined in a special response plan.In this plan, staff are reminded to pay particular attention to maintaining consistency in the person’s routine and gently reminding them of what is happening to them each time a member of staff approaches.

Carers are also encouraged to be involved by sharing their valuable insight into their loved one’s care needs with the staff who are taking over that care during a hospital stay.

To develop the scheme, Barbara consulted with people in the early stages of dementia, carers and key healthcare professionals over a two-year period, to ensure that the scheme met the needs and requirements of patients with dementia.

Studies have shown that patients who take part in the scheme receive more effective and appropriate care, reducing their stress levels and increasing their safety and wellbeing.

The Butterfly Scheme is being implemented in NHS Tayside under the lead of Dr Robert Boyd, consultant nurse in dementia.

Dr Boyd said, “I’m delighted that staff, patients and carers are so enthusiastic about adopting the Butterfly Scheme. I can’t thank the liaison team enough for organising the staff training, which has included nursing, medical staff, allied health professionals and support services such as domestic staff.”

NHS Tayside Chairman Sandy Watson said, “This is an excellent scheme which shows how NHS Tayside is demonstrating its determination to improving the care of dementia sufferers in our hospitals.