Virgin Care commits to supporting John’s Campaign in its Surrey Community Hospitals

Virgin Care has signed up to a national campaign which supports the rights of carers to stay with their loved ones in the community hospitals in Farnham and Haslemere.

John’s Campaign was founded by Nicci, the daughter of Dr John Gerrard after he died in November 2014, because she believes her father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, would have benefited greatly if she had been able to stay with him in hospital during his time as an inpatient.

Having carers staying in hospital for longer periods is particularly helpful for patients with dementia, helping them feel more settled and reducing carers’ anxieties too.

To support the campaign, a ‘Carer’s Champion’ has been identified on each ward who will support implementation of extended visiting for carers, with a carers badge produced for those to wear while on the wards outside of normal visiting hours for staff to recognise carers.

Carers of patients with dementia will also be provided with a carer’s passport, which will include important information on how to access flexible visiting times, meals during their stay and how to maintain privacy and dignity for other patients.

They’ll also be signposted to access ready-made online information from Virgin Care’s Carers Club website. Carers Club launched two years ago as a one-stop shop for advice for carers around England.

Implementation of John’s Campaign began in December last year.

The pledge has also been supported by Virgin Care’s Feel the Difference Fund – a dedicated £100,000 a year made available for projects designed and delivered by frontline colleagues which will improve the experience of using services – to further support John’s Campaign by purchasing beds to allow carers to stay with their loved ones at Farnham Hospital when they’re introduced this month.

Sarah Wardle, Virgin Care’s Manging Director for the services in Surrey, said: “We’re pleased to be able to pledge our support for John’s Campaign and make a real commitment to support carers who want to stay with the person they care for at our hospitals for longer.”

Julia Jones, Co-Founder of John’s Campaign, said: “This is quite simply the right thing to do – and we thank Virgin Care on behalf of their patients and their families for doing it. I have a mother living with dementia and I know how important it is that she receives high quality professional care when she needs it but also how important my support is to her, enabling her to get full benefit from that care. I hope the example of Virgin Care’s Surrey Community Hospitals will show the way to many others across the country.”

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