Dementia week 2015: The Ruskin Unit – a carers perspective:

The Ruskin unit is a dementia assessment unit in Carlisle. It is used to assess patients with dementia to determine the level of need they require and therefore the best way that they can be supported. 

When Mrs Robson’s 84 year old husband was admitted to the Ruskin unit his wife had never heard of it and had no idea where her husband was being taken. She was understandably concerned. She is happy that her husband is receiving the best care possible.

Mrs Robson who lives in Carlisle explained:

“My husband had become increasingly confused and I was finding it very difficult to cope. Eventually his psychiatrist explained that my husband needed to be admitted into the Ruskin Unit. I actually didn’t feel like I had an awful lot of choice in the matter because he needed support that couldn’t be given at home.  It all happened pretty quickly, while I was relieved that I was getting help I wasn’t sure where he was going.

“Now I know how patient the staff are with my husband and that he is getting the support he needs, they know when he is fed up and they talk to him. He likes to go for walks and they often take him for walks.” He has gone out for days with the staff and has even been to play golf. He wanted to go out to Silloth and the garden centre as this was something he also did so the staff helped him continue to do this.

He has helped in the ward gardens and is busy doing DIY and is occupied.

Rikki Dawson is the ward manager for the Ruskin Unit she said:

“We are keen for people to realise that coming to the Ruskin unit is simply part of the dementia journey, we offer that extra support that some people need – like Mr Robson.

“We work very closely with the community mental health teams that are actively involved with the family or individuals that need extra support, so when a person is admitted  to Ruskin the community team still have a presence and remain involved to ensure that care runs smoothly. We all work hard to support the families the very best we can as we acknowledge the vital role family support has in recovery’’

The Ruskin unit is having an open day on Monday 18th May. Anyone who is affected by dementia is invited to come along and see the unit and also talk to the staff from a range of service and people from other organisations – like the Alzheimer’s society and ask for advice. There will also be a vintage bus on site and a range of activities that will invite people to take a trip down memory lane.

Mrs Robson added: “I would advise anyone who is supporting someone with dementia to go along to the open day, if I had been there before and met the staff before I needed their services it would have made that transition much easier for me to cope with.”

The open day is from 2pm until 4pm on Monday 18th May

For more information please call the ward manager Rikki Dawson on 01228 608080