Becoming dementia-friendly

Posted by Biddy Walcot, on May 10 2017 in: Dementia

We’ve made significant changes to some of the patient areas in the hospice at Winsley as part of our on-going programme to become a dementia-friendly organisation. Over the past few months, we’ve introduced new signage, adjusted lighting and re-painted corridors and public areas. Funded by an NHS CQUIN for dementia, all the changes have been discussed with dementia experts, and have been chosen to make our public areas more easily accessible.

Our most recent achievement is the Sensory Room – a dedicated lounge in the Inpatient Unit. For those living with dementia, treatment often focuses on optimising living conditions to help stimulate and engage the senses. By using lights, colours, sounds, sensory soft play objects and even aromas, those living with dementia can develop and engage their senses by exploring and interacting here in a safe environment. Our Sensory Room is a living space for friends and family visiting patients on the Inpatient Unit, and can be used by all ages for relaxation and therapy.

Finding space in the hospice here at Winsley for this dedicated lounge was a challenge, but we decided to re-purpose an underused corridor area, to where mismatched, pre-loved furniture was once ‘retired’. The space was just big enough for the sensory materials and furniture we had in mind and was just right for a bespoke makeover. The result is both impressive and inviting. Each piece of furniture, every ornament, the soft furnishings, lighting, sounds and textures have all been given an enormous amount of consideration, using internal and external consultation.

Ultimately, though, our Sensory Room is a ‘living space’ where the décor can be easily updated and colours can change with the seasons. The books and games on the shelves are meant to be picked up, and the drawers and baskets are home to toys and trinkets – we hope all to be enjoyed.