Dementia ward given makeover to improve patient experience

Dementia ward given makeover to improve patient experience


Monday, 2 July, 2018

A dementia ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital has been given a makeover as part of a project funded by a University of Edinburgh Innovation Initiative Grant that explores how colour can improve the daily experience of patients, visitors and staff.

This was a collaboration between Edinburgh College of Art and ArtLink – which promotes the role of art in communities – and staff at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and patients’ relatives.

The project team used feedback from carers and staff to draw up their designs and took into account areas of the ward that could be disorientating for patients. They also developed more homely smaller spaces where patients can sit with relatives.

The designs reflect emerging understanding of how dementia patients perceive colour. As vision changes in old age, people’s perception of space may alter. Bright colours may help to enhance short term memory for directions.

The researchers also considered the physical context as well as the directions of the sunlight, light quality and room usage.

Hospital staff say the project has helped to create a calmer environment.

Senior Charge Nurse, Frank Charleston, said: “There has noticeably been more movement from the patients around the space and patients seem to be making more use of the living area, which is generally thought to be more homely than previous.  Patients will also sit with relatives in the circulation areas as well as within private rooms. Since the installation has finished we have also been inspired to add a memory tree and poems on the walls and surfaces.”