Hospital trust secures six figure funds for dementia improvements

12th Aug 2013

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has secured more than £900,000 to improve facilities for patients with dementia.

The funds, totalling £903,700, will be used to carry out upgrades to 12 wards across City Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital, Rowley Regis Hospital and Leasowes Intermediate Care Unit.

Rachel Overfield, Chief Nurse, at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs all four centres, said: “The Trust is committed to refining the way we care for people with dementia to make their stay in our hospitals and community facilities as stress free as possible.

“The planned upgrades will focus on reducing the disorientation and frustration patients with dementia often experience when they are brought into an unfamiliar environment, such as a hospital ward.”

To help prevent confusion, some of the money will be spent changing décor to make individual bays on wards distinctive and easily recognisable to the patient.

In bathrooms, white fixtures and fittings, such as hand rails and toilet seats, will be swapped for coloured ones to help with depth perception and blue flooring will be replaced with green to reassure patients they are on solid ground, not a slippery or watery surface.

Nursing stations will also be revamped to enable nurses to care more effectively for patients with dementia. Moveable stations will be provided so staff can sit with patients in their bay, while static stations will be made lower so nurses can be seen easily from across the ward.

At Leasowes Intermediate Care Unit in Smethwick, the money will be used to build a conservatory and garden for patients to enjoy outdoor activities, while at the Henderson Unit at Rowley Regis Hospital funds will be spent improving accessibility to the existing garden.

In a number of wards, activity and dining areas will be created to provide a space where patients can take part in activities designed to help with memory and creativity, such as reminiscence and music therapy. Patients and their relatives will also be able to use these spaces to relax and enjoy time together away from their beds.

Rachel added: “We hope these changes will help minimise any confusion and distress patients who have dementia might experience when they are admitted to our hospitals and community based care facilities.”

The Trust secured the money from the Department of Health in a recent bid for a share of a £50 million fund to create services specifically designed for the needs of people with dementia.

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