A dementia tour bus that takes away people’s primary senses has visited a Dudley hospital in a bid to give staff a realistic glimpse into the condition.
More than 850,000 people across the country are affected by dementia – a condition that impairs things like memory, thinking speed, mood, and judgement.
Staff at Russells Hall Hospital were given the chance to experience the tour to help them understand more about the fear and frustration people with dementia go through on a daily basis.
Those taking part in the tour wore goggles to replicate impaired vision, gloves to restrict movement, and shoe inserts to create weakness and numbness in the feet.
As participants tried to perform daily activities, amplified sounds, flashing lights, and restricted movement trapped them into a simulated world of fear and frustration.
Lead nurse for mental health Emma Hammond said she thought “the tour was extremely thought-provoking and a great experience to develop an understanding of what people living with dementia might experience. I believe this will enable me to improve patient care.”
Communications Apprentice Lauryn Edwards, who cared for her aunt after she was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 93, also took part.
She said: “The tour was scary; I was unable to move properly or think clearly. It took me out of my comfort zone.
“I now understand that people with dementia are not aggressive and complicated, but scared, confused, and isolated. It also explains why they shuffle when they’re walking.
“I wish I’d taken part in the tour before my Auntie Elsie died in 2012. I would have understood her behaviour and looked after her better.”