Frankie McIntyre, second year paramedic student at Teesside University felt the need to support local hospitals across the North East because she feels so passionate to create awareness of helping people with dementia.
The University Hospital of North Durham has launched a dementia aid scheme to give elderly patients fidget blankets and baby dolls to help reduce distress in an unfamiliar environment, such as a hospital room.
Frankie, 20, always wanted to be a paramedic and now works both day and night shifts across various hospitals in the North East of England.
She told Sunderland, Opinion and Stories that the dementia aid scheme is something that the Durham accident and emergency (A&E) unit have set up.
Frankie expands on the scheme’s idea and says:
“Durham A&E have introduced a dementia aid scheme to their practice to help dementia patients feel less isolated and frightened.”
A baby doll that can be cuddled helps dementia patients to concentrate better. We also have fidget blankets to place on patients laps; where zips, buttons and sequins are attached to create a ‘sensation blanket’ that can be touched. It helps set the patients mind at ease.”
Frankie takes part in placements during her four year paramedic course and explains how she deals with both physical and mental issues at work:
“We get called to mental health issues like suicides but also physical issues like chest pain. Being a paramedic means that you definitely deal with physical and mental health.”
I also asked Frankie how she detaches from her work:
“If you have a heart, you can’t fully detach yourself. You do go home thinking about work. I always take my uniform off when I finish at the station. I find that by doing this, I park my day at the station and finish it by going home.”
Frankie adds that the “emergency department is open 24 hours a day, if you feel vulnerable or need assistance with mental health issues.”