Dear Priory... I don’t think “loving” is too strong a word...

Last week we received this letter from a lady whose husband has dementia, and is cared for by the team on Oakworth ward at the Priory Hospital Keighley. We are so proud of everyone who cares with such compassion for both Richard and his wife.

Dear Priory,

I want to say how very grateful I am for the care my husband receives on Oakworth Ward. When his condition deteriorated and it became necessary for him to move into secure specialist nursing care I was very afraid for him. I hunted for a suitable place, but when I visited Oakworth and met the staff I was very reassured. The calm atmosphere and the concern staff showed for Richard*, his needs, and how he should be moved with the least distress and most comfort was so encouraging.

In the six months that Richard has been with you, at each of my many visits, that sense of Oakworth being RIGHT has grown. At all times Richard’s physical condition, medication, feeding, hydration and cleanliness have been carefully looked after, as are the needs of the other patients. I’ve been there at meal times, activity times and sleepy times and never have I seen staff disengaged with the patients.

This engagement is so important on a ward where patients can become distressed or confrontational very quickly. Miriam has set a standard where staff are constantly monitoring, in a gentle and supportive way, the reactions of people around them. Any potentially difficult situation is contained with calm warm reassurance and understanding. It’s like a human emotional comfort blanket.

I’ve always been included in decisions about Richard’s care and know that it goes beyond his physical wellbeing to a real and deep consideration of him as a person. Miriam and her team are always looking for ways to make his life easier and more pleasant. In many residential units the aim for a patient like Richard would be to keep him clean and contained. That’s never enough for Miriam. I’ve seen how each patient is supported and understood, with great efforts made to give them experiences they can actively enjoy. Staff accept that responses can be unpredictable and uneven, but they don’t give up hope and never stop trying to make patients actively happy. And they succeed.

I don’t think “loving” is too strong a word for Oakworth. Miriam sets a standard that uplifts staff, patients and relatives like me. Nothing can alter the tragedy that befell Richard, but I know that on Oakworth he’s treated as an individual and given the best loving care that he could possibly have. I’m so very grateful for that, and for the unfailing support and encouragement that I’ve been given too.

Thank you all.

*name has been changed to preserve anonymity

If someone you love has developed dementia, and you would like them to receive the same level of compassionate care as Richard, please contact us on 0845 277 4679 or click here