Dementia Friendly Design

Dementia Friendly Design

There are currently around 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK – this figure is predicted to rise dramatically, more than doubling by 2051. As more people live beyond 65, growing numbers will be living with dementia.

Research has found that for older patients, particularly those with dementia, being in an unfamiliar setting such as a hospital can often cause more confusion and distress. As part of our Design Standards Guide, we work to provide dementia friendly design across our hospitals, integrated into every part of our design work, including our new CW+ Studio for patient art activities.

In our recent refurbishment of Nell Gwynne Ward (stroke and neurology rehabilitation) at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, we integrated supportive dementia friendly design throughout the ward’s improvements.

The ward uses bold colours to distinguish between bed bay areas, which can help with reminiscence and support patient orientation. Coordinating signage is in place all through the space, and is simple, visible, and easily identifiable.

Consideration was given to lighting, including sensory ceiling lights and multi-functional low-level lights. These features create an adaptable environment, where staff to respond to patient’s moods and stimulate atmosphere or conversations.

To reduce confusion and isolation, we utilised domestic features such as a wood-look vinyl flooring, to provide familiarity and comfort. We also installed social furniture, which suits the needs of the patients and creates space for people to sit comfortably and talk or have relaxed consultations.

Our work to ensure dementia friendly clinical spaces is also seen in the redesign of the Marjory Warren Wing at West Middlesex University Hospital.

The five wards of the Marjorie Warren building were refreshed with softening wood-look flooring, bright clear colouring, and new corresponding coloured signage for wayfinding. Each ward also incorporates sensory ceiling lights and Bluetooth ceiling speakers in bay bays, to create a responsive and calming space.

We designed the Day Room on Crane Ward to provide an opportunity for activity and a social space with a domestic feel that would simulate a home environment. The space aims to create a sense of community, security, and rest.

Key design elements across the Marjory Warren refurb included:

  • A domestic scale and style kitchen area to facilitate the making of drinks and snacks
  • Vinyl wallpaper designed to simulate home environment featuring bespoke botanical design
  • Soft calming colours for walls
  • Dementia friendly clocks
  • Dementia friendly pictorial signage
  • Window vinyl treatments designed to simulate lace curtain designs
  • Natural lighting

Tabatha Andrews

Artist Tabatha Andrews created an intriguing and unique sculpture which engages and stimulates older patients in the hospital. The Dispensary is heavily influenced by the time she spent with patients during bedside and group workshops, resulting in a collection of personal memories that are waiting to be explored. The sculpture has been specifically designed for people with dementia, in particular those who are very anxious and agitated, providing them with something to interact with and to distract them when they are restless.

We are delighted to have been awarded Best Collaborative Arts Project (Static) at the 2017 Building Better Healthcare Awards for The Dispensary.

A cabinet with open doors displaying multiple objects