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£900k boost for dementia units

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust will use the money, awarded by the Department of Health, to spruce up the units and improve nursing stations

Estelle Greenwood, from Patient Experience, and Paul Scott, Capital Projects Manager, who are leading the project which will see money invested in dementia units

A hospital trust is investing £900,000 into revamping 12 of its dementia wards to make them “stress free and less confusing”.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust will use the money, awarded by the Department of Health, to spruce up the units and improve nursing stations.

The £903,700 will be used to carry out upgrades at City Hospital, Winson Green, Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich, Rowley Regis Hospital and Leasowes Intermediate Care Unit.

Rachel Overfield, chief nurse at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs all four centres, said: “The Trust is committed to refining the way we care for people with dementia to make their stay in our hospitals and community facilities as stress-free as possible.

“The planned upgrades will focus on reducing the disorientation and frustration patients with dementia often experience when they are brought into an unfamiliar environment, such as a hospital ward.”

Some of the money will be spent changing décor to make individual bays on wards distinctive and easily recognisable to patients.

In bathrooms, white fixtures and fittings, such as hand rails and toilet seats, will be swapped for coloured ones, to help with depth perception, and blue flooring will be replaced with green to reassure patients they are on solid ground.

Nursing stations will also be revamped to enable staff to care more effectively for patients with dementia. Moveable stations will be provided so staff can sit with patients in their bay, while static ones will be lowered so nurses can be seen easily.

At Leasowes Intermediate Care Unit, in Smethwick, the money will be used to build a conservatory and garden for patients to enjoy outdoor activities. At the Henderson Unit, at Rowley Regis Hospital, funds will be spent improving accessibility to the existing garden.

In a number of wards, reas will be created to provide a space where patients can take part in activities designed to help with memory and creativity.

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