A SPECIAL bus designed to demonstrate what it’s like to have dementia is set to visit Furness General Hospital.

The ‘Virtual Dementia Tour’ bus will enable members of staff to ‘walk in the shoes’ of their patients and enhance the care that they provide to people living with dementia.

Patients suffering dementia experience a number of side effects in addition to memory loss.

They often see colours differently, as well as hearing things differently, they also can often feel disorientated all of which can make them very anxious.

Thirty six members of staff will go on the bus and be given headsets which will simulate the feeling of having dementia.

Participants will be split into groups of six.

The bus will visit Barrow on Thursday, September 12.

Each tour will take approximately two hours and learning will be shared at the end of the sessions so that staff can look at ways of enhancing hospital care and making life easier and less stressful for their dementia patients.

Dianne Smith, Dementia Matron for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “I’ve been on the Virtual Dementia Tour bus before and it gives a much-needed and valuable insight into dementia.

“It gives you the experience of having dementia yourself.

“You are made to feel very vulnerable, fearful and overwhelmed.

“You are put into a situation where you don’t feel as if you have control.

“I think the tour will give our staff even greater empathy for people living with dementia and will enable them to provide an even higher level of care.”

Andrew ball, Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends National Operations Manager praised this latest attempt to promote a better understanding of dementia and dementia sufferers in the community.

He said: “The Virtual Dementia Tour is a great way to give people an insight into how the condition affects people.

“Many people rightly associate memory loss with dementia, but it’s so much more than that. Dementia can also have a profound impact on a person’s co-ordination and perception, as well as their senses.

“The more people understand about dementia, the closer we will come to creating truly dementia-friendly communities where those living with the condition feel understood, respected and supported – and this is something Alzheimer’s Society is working towards.

“In a dementia-friendly community people will be aware of and understand dementia, so that people with dementia can continue to live in the way they want to and in the community they choose.”

Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today.