Trust transforms ward into dementia friendly environment

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has given its elderly care ward an overhaul to create a friendlier environment for patients with dementia.

Members of staff suggested the painting of door frames would assist with patient orientation and create a friendly atmosphere.

Colours were used to code the different areas and facilities on the ward. This form of signage is more recognisable to those living with dementia and lifts the ward. Following a recent study carried out by the King’s Fund, it was found that a dementia friendly environment reduces falls, improves orientation and reduces anxiety for the person living with dementia.

This work is part of a rolling programme within our wards – it will be subject to continuous maintenance. As part of this work, any areas in the hospital that are identified as benefitting from this type of signage will also be painted.

Stephen Nicholson, Specialist Nurse – Dementia said:  ‘Hospital is a very difficult place for a person living with dementia to be. It is loud, busy, crowded and unfamiliar. It often has numerous corridors and numerous rooms that may all look the same.

“A dementia friendly environment reduces falls, improves orientation and reduces anxiety for people living with dementia.  The signage also supports more familiar and recognisable symbols to help orientate the person.

We can’t change everything about the physical environment in hospital, but with changes in decoration, contrasting colours, and more appropriate signage on our wards, we can make a positive difference to people that may need these adjustments.”

 

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