It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas festivities and forget that there are people around us that face this time of year alone or in need.
This year the Alexandra unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital – which treats patients who suffer from Delirium and Dementia – are asking visitors to donate pyjamas for their patients rather than send cards so that they have something to open on Christmas day.
Dementia is a term used for different progressive conditions that affect the brain, which include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Delirium is a condition which may co-exist with dementia and can be difficult to recognise as it has similar symptoms to dementia such as confusion and difficulties with concentration and thinking. Delirium typically lasts a few days, weeks or months, but it may take longer for individuals with dementia to recover.
Claire Boylan, an elder life specialist practitioner at Sunderland Royal Hospital came up with the scheme, she said: “There are a lot of patients on our ward that don’t receive any presents at Christmas time and don’t get many visitors, especially on Christmas day. People donating pyjamas gives our patients something to open on Christmas morning.
“Most of our patients are in their 80s or 90s, and this gives them something comfortable to wear rather than hospital gowns, which are sometimes not very dignifying. We also use our charitable funds to buy them a present to open for Christmas day. This is our third year doing this, but this has been by far the most successful yet.”
Tracy Buck, Director of Age UK Sunderland spoke about the hospital’s scheme saying: “I think the donation of pyjamas is a wonderful way of showing some of the most vulnerable older people of the city that you care over the Christmas period and beyond.”
She continued by saying: “Many older people in Sunderland experience extreme challenges following a hospital admission which is often heightened over the Christmas period.
“At a time of ill healt,h they can often feel vulnerable and alone during a hospital stay. The donation of pyjamas could really go a long way in making older people who may not have the social support of family feel valued and that people are thinking of them at such a low time in their lives.
“Without such a kind donation many older people may have no other alternative than to wear the allocated hospital gowns, which can often strip them of their identity and dignity during the unwanted experience of a hospital stay.”
If you want to get involved by donating pyjamas for patients, drop a wrapped item of nightwear labeled with male or female, the size and leave it in the Alexandra unit any time between 8am and 6pm. The staff at the hospital will make sure they are given out on Christmas morning.