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Dementia patients back on track with Big Green Bus

30 Jun 2016

Vital memory support groups for dementia patients have seen a 30% jump in attendance, thanks to a new transport partnership between West London Mental Health Trust and Ealing Community Transport.

People living with dementia benefit greatly from the support groups run by the trust’s cognitive impairment and dementia service (CIDS). However due to mobility difficulties, a lot of patients were finding the journey to attend the groups too difficult to make by public transport. Kianna Compton, assistant clinical psychologist at CIDS, was determined that travel should not be a barrier to attending these important groups, so she got in touch with Ealing Community Transport (ECT) to see what could be done.

ECT provides safe, accessible and affordable transport to local communities, particularly for people who are socially isolated and have mobility difficulties. Kianna arranged for ECT to pick up patients in their signature ‘Big Green Bus’, and drive them safely to and from their memory groups. Since registering with ECT, the CIDS patient attendance has risen from an average of 65% to 97% attendance.

Kianna explains: “What drew me to ECT was the fact that they can provide transport for more than one patient at a time, and the ‘Big Green Bus’ made it easy to explain to patients what to look out for, and even remember over time. The same drivers pick particular patients up each week, which is great as consistency is really important for our patients to feel confident in their surroundings.

Patients have been very positive about the new partnership. Desmond, a CIDS patient who wasn’t able to go to his memory group beforehand, said: “The service has been working really well and it makes attending the group possible for me. The drivers are always on time and polite, and they can drive better than I ever could!”

Anna Whitty, chief executive of ECT Charity, said: “This is a perfect example of ECT’s ability to build successful partnerships and help other community initiatives achieve their objectives. We are really proud of the near 100% attendance record and look forward to working with CIDS in the future so that more people could benefit from this valuable support group.”

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