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£50m allocated to help hospitals create dementia-friendly wards

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Projects designed to create dementia-friendly environments in hospitals will be boosted by a new £50m fund, ministers have announced.

More than 116 hospitals and care homes have successfully bid for a share of the money, which will help them provide pioneering care environments for people with dementia.

The projects will form part of a nationwide pilot scheme designed to help healthcare providers identify which types of physical changes are most beneficial for dementia patients.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust will receive £955,490 to fund its project entitled ‘Designing the Dementia Journey’.

The hospital’s older persons’ unit features a specially-designed ward, with colour-coded bays and symbols to help patients remember their way back to their bed.

Dementia patients are given blue wristbands so staff can easily identify them, with their food served on red meal trays so staff know they need extra help.

The funding will enable these initiatives to be rolled out to other high priority wards across the trust.

It comes after a report by The King’s Fund found that cluttered ward layouts and poor signage were contributing to confusion and distress among dementia patients. The findings suggested that replacing reflective sanitaryware and surfaces, and installing clearer signage using distinctive colours and pictures could help reduce confusion and agitation.

Details of the funding were announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt during a visit to Guy’s and St Thomas’.

He said: “We can encounter any number of places and spaces in one day, and yet for someone with advanced dementia even walking from one room to another can be difficult. This pilot scheme will form an important first step towards driving forward better care environments for people with dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Investment in pioneering projects that will create dementia-friendly environments within these care settings will play a vital part in helping to improve the care hospitals or care homes are able to provide.”


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