Supporting patients with a dementia friendly environment
The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital recently took the decision to help refurbish patient bathrooms bearing in mind the increase in both diagnosed and undiagnosed dementia across the region. The Throne Project launched in 2018, and raised a huge £11,000 to support the redesign of patient bathrooms across the hospital.
The idea stemmed from ROH Senior Occupational Therapist Tracey Gilbert, who saw a need within the hospital to make subtle changes to bathrooms to make patients feel more comfortable. The ROH Charitable Fund became involved as the changes needed were non-compulsory but something patients would benefit from.
The changes included altering colours to ensure contrast within the rooms which would help the visually impaired, those with anxiety and patients living with dementia.
Alzheimers UK said: “Using bright and contrasting colours for furniture and furnishings helps patients with dementia see things more easily. Avoid blue and green on flooring as this can be mistaken for water or grass.”
Floor colours were changed from the original blue in order to alleviate anxiety. Hand rails and bathroom aids were changed to be brighter and bolder, which were a great contrast to the pastel light blue walls, white tiles and grey floor. New bathroom signage was put up showing patients in both picture and text form whether the bathroom had a shower and toilet or just one of the two.
Whilst completing the project, the Trust decided to add on additional equipment to help patients with dementia feel supported throughout their hospital journey, not just in the bathrooms. Dementia-friendly clocks were purchased and put in every bay and side room in the hospital, and hospital signage was reviewed to keep consistency. Additionally, wartime scrapbooks and chatterbox cards from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s were purchased to help provide mental stimulation and encourage conversation for both the elderly, those suffering memory loss and patients with dementia.
As a small hospital, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital doesn’t see a large percentage of dementia patients compared to the other trusts in the area. However, they are committed to the constant need to adapt and change to support and enhance hospital experiences for everyone where possible.
Tracey Gilbert said: “This is a great example of improving patient experience. It may not be in-your-face or have the wow factor but it really does help our patients feel supported.”
David Gourevitch, Chair of the ROH Charitable Funds said: “We were very grateful to have been involved in funding the project and look forward to hearing the positive feedback from the changes made.”