Designers work to improve mental health facilities at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

Team researches optimum design interventions for mental health patients

The expertise of a leading team of designers, engineers and architects from the Royal College of Art is being used to try to create a brighter and softer environment for mental health patients at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The five-strong team from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design have mapped out how patients and staff use corridors and dining and sitting rooms at different times of day and night. They have also interviewed patients, relatives, clinical, allied health professionals and administrative staff to gauge what will be the best interventions.

NHS Forth Valley arts co-ordinator, Babs McCool, said: “The team built up a detailed picture of how the unit works and their findings will be used to develop designs to further enhance the clinical environment. This has been a fantastic opportunity to tap into some of the most artistic talent in the UK and I am really excited by the research and to learn about their ideas.”

User groups from across Forth Valley, local artist Sharon Quigley, and visual artist Jacqueline Donachie, have also been involved in generating ideas. With the three stages of fieldwork complete, the designers and artists are now developing detailed proposals. Should fundraising prove successful, their vision will be translated into designs and artwork which will be installed throughout the hospital’s mental health unit.

The funding for the research is being supported by Creative Scotland’s Public Art Research and Development Investment Programme and project partners include the University Of Stirling’s School of Nursing, ForthHealth and Serco.

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