Care Pathways

24.09.19

NHS hospitals go ‘back to the future’ for dementia patients

The NHS has revealed today that their dementia wards will be decorated in 1940s and 1950s style.

The wards, rooms and corridors will undergo the retro transformation to create a calming environment for those suffering. The familiar surrounding can help to jog memories and reduce anxiety and distress.

At the start of the year the NHS released the NHS Long Term Plan, with the next ten years in mind. Two of the key priorities included are ageing well and caring for people with dementia.

The hospital revamp will include a ‘memories pub’ and 1950s style ‘reminiscence rooms’. The plans even include a cinema booth where those suffering can watch old films and outdated memorabilia like the red telephone box.

Alistair Burns, national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health for NHS England and NHS Improvement said:

 “Hospital can be a frightening place for many people but can prove a bigger challenge for people with dementia, who might feel more confused and agitated in an unfamiliar environment. Having a dementia-friendly place to stay may help these patients adjust better to their surroundings, lessen the likelihood of falls and reduce their reliance on medicine.”

“With the NHS diagnosing a record number of older people with dementia this year, it’s more important than ever that patients get the right support and care – as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan – and these hospitals are making simple but hugely effective adjustments which can have enormous benefits to patients.”

Patients with dementia may struggle to identify the things others might take for granted. Shiny floors might appear wet, floor patterns in dark colours could look like holes and everyday items might be hard to identify if they aren’t in a contrasting colour.

All of these things are being considered by many hospitals who are now doing what they can to safeguard vulnerable patients.

Emma Bould, programme partnership manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

 “There are now 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and the numbers are continuing to rise. We welcome these steps to ensure dementia is a key priority for NHS England and would encourage more hospitals to consider how they can best support people with dementia to relax, recover and engage with the world around them by creating a more dementia-friendly environment.”

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