Ysbyty Gwynedd has become the first acute hospital in Wales to receive official recognition of working to become dementia friendly.

The hospital has been recognised by the Alzheimer’s Society as part of its work to recognise organisations and individuals supporting awareness around dementia.

Over 300 members of staff are now ‘Dementia Friends’ at Ysbyty Gwynedd, which is only the second acute hospital in the UK to receive this recognition from the Alzheimer’s Society.

The dementia team became volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society in 2015 and have since carried out a range of activities and ‘dementia friends’ training sessions to help staff understand more about dementia and how it affects patients and their families.

Delyth Thomas, Acute Dementia Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “Being a dementia friend increases our understanding of dementia.

“It also continues to help us inspire others to become dementia friends and champions in order to take action to support people affected by dementia and furthermore, helps to reduce the fear and stigma associated with the disease.”

Eleri Wyn Evans, Interim Head of Nursing at Ysbyty Gwynedd said the team were extremely proud of their achievement.

She said: “Achieving the status of the first acute hospital in Wales, and second in the UK, is a huge achievement and is a reflection of the hard work and dedication by the staff at the hospital, in particular the hard work that Delyth has provided over the years.

“All of our work from previous years has now come to fruition and it is time for us to celebrate our success. There is still a lot of work ahead for us and we encourage all staff across the health board to become dementia friends.”

Martin Jones, Hospital Director at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said he was delighted that the hospital and its staff are responding to the needs of the community it serves.

He said: “This award is the culmination of the efforts of many individuals, but as with many initiatives there has be someone who is the catalyst for change.

“Delyth and Eleri, along with colleagues, should rightly be congratulated for the work they have taken forward to ensure that patients, their carers and wider family members receive appropriate support and compassionate understanding when accessing services at the hospital.

“To be the first hospital in Wales to receive this recognition, and only the second in UK, shows how staff are endeavouring to keep at the forefront of best practice.”

Dr Karen Mottart, Hospital Medical Director at Ysbyty Gwynedd, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for Ysbyty Gwynedd.

“Delyth has been unceasing in her drive to raise awareness across the hospital and is an amazing role model for us all.”

The team will be formally presented with their award in January from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Jo Lane, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator, for the Alzheimer’s Society, has congratulated the team. She said: “I have been working with Delyth, Eleri and the staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd for over 18 months and from day one their commitment and motivation to support people living with dementia within the hospital setting is inspirational.

“The recognition of working to become dementia friendly is well deserved and I look forward to continuing to support them through their journey.”