Holiday healthcare heroes: ‘Sometimes all a patient needs is a chat, which can make a real difference’

Sophie Smith. Photo: NSFT

Sophie Smith. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Throughout advent, we're highlighting those who work hard throughout the year - and at Christmas - to keep Norfolk and Waveney's health service ticking over.

This countdown of those we count on will focus on a different person or individual every day up until Christmas, celebrating our healthcare heroes.

Sophie Smith

Sophie Smith works on the Beach, Reed and Rose Wards at the Hammerton Court specialist dementia unit at the Julian Hospital in Norwich, which cares for patients with complex needs which cannot be met by carers or staff in the community.

Alongside her colleagues, she looks after people with various kinds and degrees of dementia, which can cause memory loss, forgetfulness, confusion, a change in personality, apathy and depression. The team's aim is to stabilise patients so their needs can be managed safely and therapeutically within the community.

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And although the role can be challenging, Sophie gets great satisfaction from her work and from offering vital support to people at a difficult time.

'I just love my job. I have a passion for looking after our patients and their relatives,' said Sophie, who lives in Wymondham with her partner and two children.

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'It's lovely to go home at the end of a shift knowing you've made a difference to someone's life.

'I get real job satisfaction from knowing that I am doing my absolute best to make our patients feel at home and as comfortable as possible while they are going through such a difficult time. As a team, it's also important to make sure we support the families too – although they are not suffering with the condition, they may often be feeling stressed or lost.

'It's also amazing to see someone come to us at crisis point and help them grow and progress into gaining some independence and happiness back.'

People referred to the unit may have dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia or frontal lobe dementia. The team offer a variety of treatments including medication, therapeutic and social interventions, physical and social activities, while also linking with local recreational and rehabilitation services.

'Sometimes all a patient needs is a chat, which can make a real difference,' added Sophie.

• To read about other holiday health heroes, click on a door on the advent calendar above.

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