[A version of this news item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 1 Issue 9, April 2011].
The unique multi-million pound hospital Physical Illness and Dementia Ward at Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust (RWHT) is helping to transform the lives of dementia patients in the Black Country. It has a special paint scheme, lighting and colour coordinated tables and chairs to encourage patients to eat.
The £2 million ward, created as part of the New Cross Hospital Dementia Project in Wolverhampton, has been hailed a huge success. In addition to special design techniques, every member of staff, including the housekeeper and receptionist, have received specialist training in how to deal with patients suffering with dementia.
The programme could now be rolled out to other hospitals across the region.
The Physical Illness and Dementia Ward
The 20-bed ward uses the paint scheme to make sure confused patients don’t open doors they shouldn’t, and lighting is employed to create different atmospheres. Signs have red backgrounds with white writing to make them easier for patients to read clearly.
Every design detail on the ward has been carefully considered, including the colours of chairs and table cloths chosen to encourage appetite and make it easier for patients to know when and where to eat.
Each patient can also personalise their bed area so they can recognise it more easily. Each bay has beds on only one side to reduce confusion.
The Physical Illness and Dementia Ward opened in November 2010. It has a higher than usual number of nursing staff as well as a team of trained and motivated volunteers. Real benefits have been achieved to enhance patients’ well-being and dignity.