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Norfolk helps pioneer dementia-friendly surroundings for the Department of Health

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust continues to help lead the way for dementia care after pioneering design work has been completed at one of its care units.

The Trust is one of 116 successful organisations to receive a share of a £50 million fund from the Department of Health to create pioneering dementia care environments.

The Trust has been awarded £249,000 to further develop its dementia care unit as part of the first national pilot project to showcase the best examples of dementia-friendly environments across England, and to build evidence around the type of physical changes that most benefit dementia patients.

Hammerton Court in Norwich has unveiled its new look, which includes imaginative use of colour across its three wards, a redesigned entrance, new ‘homely’ fixtures and fittings, and newly created areas of interest such as themed rooms depicting an ice cream parlour, tea room and social club.

The investments at Hammerton Court are part of the first national pilot to showcase the best examples of dementia-friendly environments across England - and saw a dedicated staff team, as well as carers and patients, all contribute to the design process.
Improvements include:

  • The three main areas of the unit, called Rose, Beach and Reed, have been cosmetically enhanced to suit their individual themes.

  • Brightly coloured, tactile flow rails added to corridor walls to help patients find their way around.

  • The installation of imitation fireplaces in the day area to create a more homely atmosphere.

  • Newly created themed rooms depicting an ice cream parlour, tea room and social club.

  • New flooring, carpets, curtains. 

  • Greater use of art work throughout.

  • A redesigned entrance to ease navigation.

  • Personalisation through use of coloured doors to patient rooms.

Nicky Gordon, clinical team leader at Hammerton Court said: “We have transformed the unit from a plain and formerly quite clinical building into a much warmer environment through the small scale cosmetic improvements.”

“The changes we have made are designed to create a much more homely feel to promote patient wellbeing, mobility, independence and activity.

“It’s well researched that simple changes such as brightening and enhancing the colour schemes help to support people with dementia.

“Service users, carers and visitors are pleased with the results and for staff too, it provides somewhere inspiring to work, as well as aiding things like recruitment and morale.”

Hammerton Court opened in March 2012 and was purpose-built to be a modern and innovative environment to facilitate and promote the care and treatment of people with dementia.

The environmentally-friendly building is light and airy, there are spacious and safe courtyards, all bedrooms are en suite and the entrance includes a community café and hair salon.

Board members from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust attended the unveiling on July 11, along with all those who were involved with the design process.

Last October, the Trust's project team also benefited from a design workshop hosted by the King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England.