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Building work begins for dementia intensive care unit

​A ground breaking event to mark the beginning of the building works for a 36-bed Dementia Intensive Care Unit (DICU) was held on Monday 10th January at the Julian Hospital on Bowthorpe Road, Norwich.

The event saw Trust chair, Maggie Wheeler drive a JCB digger to break the ground upon which the DICU will be built. The event was attended by representatives from Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, R.G Carter and Ingleton Wood.

Maggie Wheeler, chair of Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said:

“In these difficult times for the public sector it is thrilling to be creating jobs, developing services and leading the way in dementia care. Today marks the keeping of a promise we made to build a state of the art facility for people with dementia and those who care for them, be they family members or professional staff. With our growing population of older people it is right that Norfolk is at the forefront of working with dementia - and we are.”

The £13.7m centre will be purpose built for dementia care, providing an optimal experience for patients, carers and staff. The building has been designed to meet current and future forecast dementia needs for the region.

The pioneering new unit is being built by local company R G Carter and has been designed by Norwich-based firm of architects Ingleton Wood.

R G Carter’s Regional Director, Saul Humphrey, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to complete this exciting project and to again work alongside Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and consultants Ingleton Wood, Allman Woodcock and Scott Wilson.”

The design of the physical environment is increasingly recognised as an important aid in the
care of people with dementia. It is a therapeutic resource to promote wellbeing and functionality among people with dementia, their relatives and those that care for them in a professional capacity. Thus the DICU will feature homelike furnishings, sensory prompts, personalisation and a non-institutional environment.

Jon Boon, Partner at Ingleton Wood said:

“We are delighted that work is starting on site, representing the culmination of a year’s work by the project team on this exciting project.”

The DICU is one component of the Trust's planned Clinical Academy for Dementia, forming part of a project that will deliver a different way of thinking about dementia across the health community and influence all aspects of dementia care and treatment. The Trust's own Dynamic Dementia practice; research; training and education; improved public awareness and partnership working will be brought together as the World’s first Clinical Academy for Dementia. The vision for the Academy is to provide the best in dementia care, education and support - improving knowledge of dementia, improving the skills to treat dementia, and improving the understanding of dementia through new care practices, research, training, and public awareness.

The DICU is due to open in spring 2012.


Notes for editors:

1. In summary the new DICU / Academy for Dementia Care will:
• Increase the quality of care provision by ourselves
• Increase quality of care provision by others e.g. care homes
• Support the government drive to earlier diagnoses
• Produce a highly skilled and highly motivated workforce
• Develop an epidemiological base of knowledge regarding patients with dementia
• Develop sophisticated understanding of the entire care pathway, detailing between different services, which allows services to retain and enhance their specific expertise, without leading to disjointed services.

2. The DICU is the second major investment in providing state-of-the-art mental health
treatment facilities in recent years. In May 2009 the Trust opened Justin Gardner House at its Hellesdon Hospital site housing a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and Low Secure Unit.

3. Dementia costs the UK economy £17billion a year, and in the next 30 years, the number
of people with dementia in the UK will double to 1.4 millions with costs trebling to over £50billion a year. * *Extract from National Dementia Strategy issued Feb 2009.

4. The DICU will not only provide beds but will also co-locate all dementia specialists to
ensure sharing of all information relating to clinical best practice and emerging knowledge.

5. The Trust is currently commissioned by NHS Norfolk to provide 28 beds for NHS
Continuing Care, for people with severe and complex dementia in the central cluster of Norfolk.

6. The cost of the build, taking current standards and guidelines and future requirements
into account, will be £13.7million. This is in line with other similar capital builds to the same
standard (for the same patient group) as being undertaken in other trusts.

7. The number of individuals up to 65 years of age is projected to remain largely constant
between now and 2029 whereas the proportion of the population over 65 is predicted to rise inexorably. The group of people over 85 is set to increase in size dramatically, with almost a 100% increase from the 2007 baseline.

8. The number of people in Central Norfolk estimated to have dementia by 2011 is 14,241.
The DICU beds will meet the need for those patients with the most intensive and challenging dementia care needs that cannot be managed initially in specialist nursing care provision.

9. The incidence of dementia in persons above 75 years old is likely to increase from
around 10 per 1000 per year at 75 to around 60 per 1000 per year at age 85 for men and
around 85 per 1000 for women.

10. Younger people with dementia currently estimated to be around 2.5% of total cases
across the country or approximately 18,500 nationally, in turn meaning an approximate number of cases in the Norfolk area totalling 400. Younger people with dementia experience more virulent symptoms, the illness progresses at a faster rate, the symptoms are more troublesome and patients experience higher levels of distress, agitation and anxiety, compared with older patients.

11. The Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Foundation Trust was awarded Foundation
Trust status in February 2008.

12. The Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust covers an area of more
than 2,000 square miles of Norfolk and over 140 square miles in Waveney, North Suffolk. This has a population of almost 950,000 people and, at any one time, provides mental health care for 14,000 people.

13. R G Carter has previously completed many landmark buildings within Norwich including
Norwich Forum, the Refectory at Norwich Cathedral, works at UEA and the refurbishment of the Theatre Royal. They are currently working on the Norwich Memorial Gardens.

14. The centre of excellence is being designed by a three-strong consortium led by partners
at the Norwich-based office of architect Ingleton Wood. The consortium also comprises local
representatives of international structural and civil engineer Scott Wilson, and of quantity
surveyors Allman Woodcock.

15. Ingleton Wood is a multi-disciplinary building consultancy with many years’ experience of working in the health sector. Schemes range from refurbishments and conversions to
extensions and new builds. Clients include NHS trusts and social care providers, and projects include primary care, hospital facilities and supported living accommodation.