Dementia-friendly wards open at Airedale Hospital


£700,000 refurbishment makes hospital environment better for dementia patients

Dementia-friendly wards are being created at Airedale General Hospital.

As part of a £700,000 scheme, Ward 4 is being refurbished and redecorated in order to help patients.

Co-ordinated bright colours are being used in bays and around new toilets, showers and bathrooms to help patients easily find their way back to their beds and prevent disorientation.

Stained-glass windows will be incorporated into the design of the bays, helping to create a calming, peaceful atmosphere, especially in the early morning and evenings, and new curtains have been provided.

All the floors have been replaced and covered with non-shiny material, which patients perceive as less slippery, and new ceiling tiles and lights have been installed.

A ‘reflections’ room has also been created, where patients and families can have some quiet time. This will be equipped with comfortable furnishings and pictures from the 1950s displayed on loop on a monitor to trigger fond memories. There is also a small cafe within the ward’s social and dining area, which will be supported by hospital volunteers to provide a sociable dining area; plus there is family room where relatives can spend longer periods of time with very ill patients.

And the garden area is being redesigned with the support of Rotary.

Elaine Andrews, assistant director of patient safety at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted with the improvements to our wards, and although the whole design has been centred around the needs of patients with dementia, it will also create a more-pleasant environment for all our patients and staff.

“We have made the reception area on Ward 4 smaller, which will make it easier for staff to be based nearer to the patients and there will be a work station close to each bay.”

Improvements have also been made to Ward 9 – the orthopaedic ward – and will soon start on Ward 6, a ward for older people, followed by another general medical ward.

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The improvements are part of the trust’s Here to Care project funded following a successful bid to the Department of Health.