Dementia Awareness Week: Supporting dementia services at Barts Health

17 May 2016

This week, 15-21 May, is Dementia Awareness Week. With your support, we’re helping patients with dementia in the hospitals of Barts Health.

Dementia is a term that describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language (for more information, see the Alzheimer's Society website).

As part of our £3.3m Spring funding, we’re helping to create dementia-friendly environments for patients at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Hospitals can be noisy and fast-paced, which means – with the number of people with dementia continuing to increase – that it’s more important than ever that hospital environments cater to their needs, rather than making it more difficult for these patients.

The new £496,800 project will involve the creation of permanent social and reminiscence spaces – flexible rooms that can help transport patients from an impersonal clinical space to a calming and therapeutic environment.

The rooms can be filled with different memorabilia, signage, art installations, sounds, soft furnishings and other décor that recreate the sensory experience of everyday life in previous decades.

These areas will enhance reminiscence therapy and occupational therapy, with the ultimate aim of increasing mental wellbeing and feelings of safety for patients.

Other items funded as part of the project include a replica large cathode-ray tube TV installed with TV shows and films from past decades, and seating to allow patients to dine and socialise together – both to aid engagement and stimulation for patients with dementia.

Our Director of Grants, Dr Francesca Gliubich, commented: “We are delighted to be able to support this initiative. The importance of early recognition of cognitive decline and the benefits arising from an individualised care plan are now widely appreciated.

“This new facility will allow patients at Whipps Cross to be appropriately supported.”

Work on the new dementia-friendly environments at the hospital will begin soon – watch this space!

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