Supported travel – people living with
15 September 2015
Blogging for us on this edition is PC Fiona Andrews.
Have you worked with people with dementia? What do
you think about Fiona's work? Have you been involved in the
scheme? Join in the discussion in the comments
Fiona has been nominated for ‘Best
dementia friendly organisational initiative’ award by Alzheimer’s
Society for their 2015 Dementia Friendly
It was a conversation with rail staff at York that made me look
into what it must be like for a person living with dementia to be
at a train station.
During a team briefing session staff mentioned that they were
dealing with an increasing number of confused people, and they
didn’t quite know what to do when someone had forgotten who they
were and why they were there.
So I took a trip to the local Alzheimer’s
Society to see if they could help, and found out that a group
in York called
Dementia Without Walls was being set up as a result of the
recent Prime Minister’s challenge
to encourage the city to become more dementia friendly.
It became apparent that some people with dementia – and their
carers – had lost confidence in rail travel, even though it's
hugely beneficial to them. I knew there were things we
could do to help, so I set up a ‘supported travel day’ so
that anyone living with dementia could come to York and
take a short journey with us. The idea was that it’d build
confidence and encourage them to travel by train again.
Since then we’ve run more supported journeys with other groups
who help persons with dementia in partnership with our local train
operating companies. We meet the group and familiarize them with
the station – doing the things that can really help such as showing
them the location of the ticket office, lifts, toilets and customer
enquiry desk. We give them details of how to book ‘passenger
assist’ and they’re then escorted by officers and volunteers
on their journey. Our 61016 text
cards are given out and the role of British Transport Police
officers explained during the journey.
But I also realised we needed to go further than that: rail
staff and other officers needed some dementia awareness training,
so that when they do come across a person living with dementia who
has become disorientated at the station we’re all ready to
Patience is sometimes needed so that the person can gather their
thoughts without being hurried. Sometimes being taken to a quiet
place where the member of rail staff or officer can allow the
person to feel relaxed and calm can sometimes allow them to recall
who they are and where they are from – it all helps someone with
dementia to use the station and keep their independence.
The future’s all about leading by example; many more officers in
York and our surrounding stations have taken the awareness
training, and who knows how far it’ll take us next?
Have your say
Your comments will be moderated in advanced and may take a while