A DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY building that helps stimulate patients’ memories from years gone by has become the first in the UK to receive a prestigious award.
The Mowbray and Roker Ward at Monkwearmouth Hospital has been named as the first NHS building in the country to be handed a gold design award.
Special therapy rooms, a memory walk and vintage memorabilia, including sporting and lifestyle-themed items, are all helping patients recall important and special memories.
Staff at the unit say they are delighted with the impact it has had with fewer falls being reported, less incidents of aggression by patients, and reduced use of certain medications.
The new £10million dementia unit received the design award from the world-leading Dementia Services Development Centre, at the University of Stirling.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s project director, Tony Railton, said: “Getting the design right has been shown to make a big difference to the lives of people with dementia.
“Therefore, we are really pleased to receive this award, and delighted that staff are reporting fewer falls and that patients are sleeping much better.”
The centre includes individual en-suite rooms, communal areas, attractive courtyards with gardening activities, a one hole putting green and occupational therapy rooms.
Professor Mary Marshall, from the University of Stirling, said: “It is without doubt one of the best NHS efforts at dementia-friendly design that we have seen.
“There are a host of little details that all add up to creating a genuinely dementia-friendly environment.” The centre provides an NHS assessment and treatment service for people in Sunderland and South Tyneside with dementia.
The inpatient unit works closely with community services, including the Memory Protection Services, challenging behaviour and community mental health teams and day hospitals to provide an integrated pathway of care.
The unit complements existing in-patient services on the Monkwearmouth site that meet the needs of people with dementia and complex needs, including challenging behaviour.
Patients have access to an events room which features a cinema, as well as rooms for carers’ support groups.
The building also features a recreation kitchen to help people with daily tasks like making a cup of tea and cooking, as well as a traditional barber’s shop and hairdressers.