42 NHS hospitals to benefit from improvements to dementia facilities

74 social care units also share £50m moneypot to improve wards, bedrooms and communal facilities

More than 100 hospitals and care homes in England have been awarded a share of a £50m fund to create pioneering new facilities for people with dementia.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced details of 116 successful projects which will help to improve the environment for sufferers, improving their quality of life and reducing associated anxiety and aggressive behaviours.

Of those projects, 42 are within the NHS, including hospital wards; and 74 are located within a local authority setting including care homes.

This pilot scheme will form an important first step towards driving forward better care environments for people with dementia

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is among those to benefit. It will receive £955,490 to fund its Designing the Dementia Journey . Currently, the hospital’s older person’s unit features a specially-designed ward environment with colour-coded bays and symbols to help patients remember their way back to their bed. Patients with dementia are given blue wristbands so that staff can easily identify them and are served food on red trays so staff know they need extra help with eating and drinking. The funding will enable these successful initiatives to be rolled out to other high-priority wards across the trust.

Hunt said: “There is little doubt that our home and work environment has an important impact upon our day to day lives – and our care environment is no exception.

“We can encounter any number of places and spaces in one day, and yet for someone with advanced dementia even walking from one room to another can be difficult. This pilot scheme will form an important first step towards driving forward better care environments for people with dementia.”

Funding has been awarded to projects that demonstrate how practical changes to the environment within which people with dementia are treated will make a tangible improvement to their condition.

The projects will form part of the first national pilot to showcase the best examples of dementia-friendly environments across England, to build evidence around the type of physical changes that have the most benefit for dementia patients.

The move comes after cluttered ward layouts and poor signage in hospitals and care homes were cited as the main reasons for causing confusion and distress in people with dementia in research conducted by The King’s Fund.

Replacing reflective sanitaryware and surfaces, and installing clearer signage using distinctive colours and pictures, has been shown to help dementia patients manage their condition better by helping to reduce confusion and agitation.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The effect an unfamiliar hospital or care home environment has on the wellbeing of a person with dementia is often underestimated. Changes to a person’s surroundings can leave people with dementia feeling confused, anxious or agitated and can drastically affect their quality of life.

The effect an unfamiliar hospital or care home environment has on the wellbeing of a person with dementia is often underestimated

“Moving into a care home or spending time in hospital can be a difficult transition, and often the buildings and grounds are not laid out in a way that supports staff to deliver good quality care.”

For a full list of where the money has been allocated, click here.

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