Design for Dementia Care

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Acomb Garth uses innovative design to enhance the care environment

Find Memory Care teamed up with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS to enhance the environment at Acomb Garth (York).

Although a new 18-bed ward for people living with dementia is planned as part of the new hospital, due to be completed in 2019, Gary Matfin (Ward Manager) and Darren Hughes (Advanced Nurse Practitioner) wanted to make changes that would support the people in their care immediately.

Following the success of using Find’s murals in care home settings, Find was keen to install them in a hospital unit and monitor the impact.  We didn’t have long to wait for the benefits to be realised.  The immediate result saw a dramatic 79.6% reduction in violence and aggressive behaviour. Both the Trust and Find are absolutely thrilled by this outcome.

There are mixed feelings regarding the use of murals in dementia care settings as some people feel they create false realities – and poor ones certainly can do.  However, Find’s designs create recognisable destinations to be used in conjunction with furniture and activities, which encourage engagement and social interaction.  Find understands that a mural of a café requires appropriately placed seating in front of it and snacks to be constantly available in order to create the right atmosphere.  In the same way, a music shop must have instruments, old fashioned records and sheet music and a newsagent’s needs papers and magazines.
A 79.6% reduction in violent behaviour was more than we could have imagined and the benefits don’t stop there.  Lower levels of agitation and a stimulating environment both link to increased levels of exercise, improve appetite, reduce the risk of falls and can have a positive impact on sleep patterns too.   Recent research studies have identified strong links between a lack of exercise and developing depression too.  It is also true to say that all these benefits link to the use of medications and when a person’s condition is managed by the environment, the need for drugs can be substantially reduced.  Falls, incontinence, dehydration and malnutrition can also lead to the use of painkillers, antibiotics and laxatives, so change that reduces the need for any or all of these will have a positive impact on a person’s overall well being, hopefully reduce the length of hospital stay (and for those trying to manage the books, there is the added benefit to the NHS of reduced costs)

For more information or to find out how we can help you  contact Karen Clayton ( NHS Business Account Manger

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