Health chiefs at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, where the average age of a patient is 84, have appointed its first Consultant Nurse for Dementia and Older People.

Steve Adams joins a team of 11 consultants who specialise in care of the elderly, as well as a new and growing team of community geriatricians.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said the appointment is part of its aim of shining a light on caring for the elderly and patients with dementia.

Steve said: “We are seeing more and more older people with complex needs and signs of dementia.”

He said: “We know that the earlier we can identify a difficulty the sooner we can act and the better quality of life that person has.”

He added: “We want to improve patient experience and care and improve how we support the carers. “We also want to help staff to care for people with dementia in new and different ways, and train and educate them to give them the skills they need.”

The Trust has started a training programme for all nurses and therapies staff to raise awareness and improve people’s understanding of dementia. Steve and his colleagues are also looking at the wards to see what improvements can be made to the environment people with dementia are treated in.

Specialist staff are also taking their services out into Surrey and Sussex.

Dr Ben Mearns, Clinical Lead of Acute and Elderly Medicine, said: “Our community geriatricians are exporting the expertise of the department into the communities we serve - taking care to the patients rather than bringing the patients to us.” The Trust is to hold one of its ‘Hot Topic’ events looking at caring for people with dementia and elderly patients in East Surrey Hospital’s Postgraduate Education Centre this Thursday (February 27) at 6pm.

The event will give people the chance to meet the consultants and lead nurses and hear about plans for developing services in the future. All are welcome to attend and refreshments will be available from 5.30pm.