Hospital wards get a dementia-friendly makeover

Thursday 22 May 2014

Day room

Older patients on wards at St Thomas’ will soon have a more dementia-friendly experience thanks to a Department of Health grant.

The Trust has been selected to receive funding for the pilot project ‘Designing the Dementia Journey – a holistic approach to the environment for people with dementia’.  

The Older Persons Unit at St Thomas’ already features a specially designed ward environment with soft flooring, colour-coded bays and symbols to help patients remember their way back to their bed. 

Chief Nurse Eileen Sills says: “These design initiatives have made an overwhelming difference to these patients, making them safer, calmer and more comfortable. Thanks to the extra funding, we will now be able to make the same changes to other wards that care for older patients.”

Department of Health funding was awarded to projects that could “demonstrate how practical changes to the areas where people with dementia are treated will make a real improvement to their condition”. 

Cluttered ward layouts and confusing signage in hospitals and care homes were cited as the top reasons for causing distress to people with dementia in research conducted by The King’s Fund.

Eileen Sills adds: “We have worked with staff, patients, families and carers who have suggested further improvements including a welcoming reception area on each of the elderly care wards, and more relaxing day rooms. 

“Our aim is to create calm, recognisable spaces using artwork, appropriate lighting and colours.”

Wards will remain open as usual throughout the work taking place from May until September. 

The project is being managed by Essentia, The Trust's capital, estates and facilities directorate.

Last updated: May 2014

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