UK’s First ‘Dementia Friendly’ Ambulances Launch Today

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Sep 9, 2019

UK’s First ‘Dementia Friendly’ Ambulances Launch Today

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has launched the UK’s first ever ‘dementia friendly’ ambulances

Together with the University of Northampton’s Dementia Centre, EMAS has updated four emergency vehicles to help patients with dementia feel less confused and frightened when travelling.

Based in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, the newly redesigned ambulances have launched today. Further plans to update all 104 ambulances across these two counties to become dementia-friendly are expected to come into effect by the end of October.

How have the ambulances been changed?

Scenic covers have been used to cover the window closest to the ambulance stretcher, providing both a calming image and a talking point for patients. Music from specific decades is also available for staff to help choose tracks that patients are more likely to have positive associations with.

All front-line EMAS staff have also received dementia friendly training. Rolled out from April 2019, staff are equipped with a guide containing tips on how they can use the changes in the ambulance, as well as how they can alter their communication style to better meet the needs of the patient. Additional conversation prompts have also been included.

Patients will also have access to ‘twiddlemuffs’ – knitted hand muffs that have ribbons and buttons for patients to fiddle with, to help distract and calm them.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service responds to emergency calls from 43,000 patients living with dementia each year. An estimated 850,000 people are currently living with dementia across the UK. Most common in the over 65s, one in 14 people aged 65 and over currently live with dementia.

For loved ones, the changes in those with dementia can leave them seeming unrecognisable as it can change their personality in an irreversible way. Dementia can, however, be managed, with access to support.

To discover more about dementia, visit Dementia UK or Alzheimer’s Research UK. To discover more about recognising the signs of dementia, how counselling can help, and how you can find help and support when caring for a loved one, visit Counselling Directory or use the search bar below to find a counsellor near you.

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