As the population ages, more patients being treated will have varying stages of dementia or delirium. These patients can find the environment disorientating and frightening and may consequently become even more confused. However, there is much that can be done to help them adapt to the new environment.
Following the success of the Holt day room, which was completed in 2015, the Kimberly Ward transformation is now also complete with the 1950s-style living room acting as a comforting and relaxing space for dementia patients with memorabilia reflective of the era to engage patients and their memories.
Emma Jarvis, from Environment Arts at the hospital, has been instrumental in the decoration and design to create the calming atmosphere. Building on the success and feedback from patients and staff from the Holt day room, it was possible to make a room which is rememistant of the era but at the same time meets required NHS standards.
Lee Shiers, Older Peoples Medicine Volunteer Coordinator said: “There is a really calming atmosphere in the room and is such a contrast to what it was like before.
“It restores a little bit of normality to patients, giving them a space to potter about in and this is the key to the success of the area. We use this area to provide activities for patients, such as bingo and craft activities, to keep our patients entertained and active’’.
Sister Louise Hunt said: “The new day room not only benefits our patients but helps their relatives and carers and gives them a lovely place to sit.
“We can use modern technology in many ways to provide music, news stories as well as having books and photos from that era for patients to look at and reflect.
“People are making a lot of use of it and you don’t feel like you are in a hospital environment at all and we are delighted that patients can find comfort in this room.
“Everyone who has come into the room has a memory of something from their past. It is such a simple thing to do and has worked really well because we have had such great support from patients’ relatives, and environmental arts.’’
The room was made possible by funding provided by the N&N Hospital Charity.
Louise Cook, Fundraising Manager said: “This is such an incredible project building on the feedback from our first day room where it made such an impact on patients, staff and carers.
“We are therefore delighted to have funded this project and I think this is a great illustration of what we can do as a charity to enhance the environment and make a real difference to local people.
“I have heard stories of patients, including one who would sit in the corner doing her knitting as if she was back at home, with the music on, and it’s just a lovely environment. It’s so homely, quiet and pleasant.
“It really does benefit patients and it is illustrated by how often the area is used. It has been such an enjoyable project for everyone and it’s nice for people who have visitors to have somewhere else to sit too.”