Photographic display at St Thomas' celebrates older people

Thursday 8 October 2015

Winifred Burraway with the OPU photos

An exhibition of photographs showing positive images of ageing is creating a welcoming atmosphere for patients and visitors at St Thomas’ Hospital. 

The 50 photos, which are displayed on the walls leading to the hospital’s Older Persons Unit, were taken by professional photographer Edward Webb. They show patients from Guy’s and St Thomas’ and other people from the local community in south London.

Winifred Burraway, 92, who was one of the models, says: “I enjoyed having my picture taken and I’m really pleased with how it looks as part of the display. Everyone says what lovely photos they are.”

Dr Rebekah Schiff, clinical lead for the health and ageing department at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “These wonderful portraits celebrate older people and make the entrance to the wards more welcoming with a positive image of ageing.

“Design initiatives like this are important for helping us to provide the highest quality care. These are the first images that patients and their visitors see when they come to the Older Persons Unit. They are intended to make them feel welcome and positive about their stay with us at a time when they are not feeling well or are worried by the prospect of coming into hospital.”

The project was funded by a Department of Health grant that has been used to make the wards more ‘dementia-friendly’. The Older Persons Unit also features soft flooring, colour-coded bays, and symbols to help patients find their way around.

Photographer Edward Webb says: “It was an immense pleasure to meet everyone who features in these portraits. I learned so much about their lives and characters and I think their personalities come across strongly in the photographs.  

“Seeing all the images on display together at St Thomas’ is really powerful. I’m pleased to hear that people enjoy looking at the portraits on their way in and out of the wards – it’s nice to make even a small difference to how patients, visitors, and staff feel while in the hospital.”

The photography project was managed by Essentia, Guy’s and St Thomas’ in-house capital, estates and facilitates directorate.

Last updated: October 2015

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