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Patients settle into purpose-built dementia ward

People with dementia are now receiving expert care in a specially-designed ward after Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust opened a new state-of-the-art inpatient unit.

Beach Ward opened on Friday 29 May at the purpose-built £13.7m Hammerton Court unit in Norwich. It is providing 13 beds for patients with acute needs, as well as assessment and treatment planning, and has replaced beds previously provided on the nearby Blickling Ward at the Julian Hospital.

The move has brought all of the Trust's central Norfolk dementia beds into one place, and will make the best possible use of the dementia-friendly features at Hammerton Court, which include sensory and visual prompts, homelike furnishings and reminiscence rooms with music, photo albums and archive TV footage.

Staff who previously worked on Blickling Ward played a crucial role in the relocation, helping to prepare patients, transfer their medication and items in storage and arrange for clinic equipment to be moved so that the transfer between sites ran as smoothly as possible.

Michael Scott, the Trust's Chief Executive, personally thanked everyone who has worked on the Blickling Ward over the years for the expert support they had provided to patients, as well as their efforts to ensure everyone could move safely and efficiently.

He said: "Feedback from those using the Blickling Ward was always very positive, with patients and their carers alike holding the care which our staff provided in very high regard.

"We are delighted that our colleagues can continue to offer the very best care in the very best surroundings now that the move to the modern new ward is complete.

"Our thanks go to everyone who worked so hard to make the move possible and ensure that patients were able to transfer quickly and without minimal disruption."

Some patients on the new ward may transfer to one of Hammerton Court's other wards – Reed or Rose – for specialist continuing care once their treatment on Beach Ward is complete. As part of the project, an extra bed has been added to each of these wards to increase their capacity and allow them to cater for up to 13 patients at a time.

Philip Leake, Clinical Team Lead on the Beach Ward, said: "I am proud of the high standards of care and commitment the Blickling team has shown over the years. This purposefully designed building helps ensure this continues in the long term, providing patients with the best environment to maximise their potential wellbeing."

Charge Nurse Deborah Thompson added: "The team has been preparing for the move with great excitement. The move presents the opportunity to assess our patients in an environment which they deserve."

Chas Lockwood, Service Manager at the Trust, said: "We are delighted that the move from Blickling to the Beach Ward is now complete, and are grateful to colleagues from across the Trust who have worked hard to make the relocation possible.

"Beach Ward is light, airy and boasts plenty of outside space as well as a range of dementia-friendly features such as reminiscence areas and visual prompts. Not only will this further improve the experience which patients and their families have when receiving care, but will also provide our dedicated staff with a pristine environment in which to work.

"Although hundreds of patients have received high quality care on Blickling Ward over the years, the design of the ward limited the steps we were able to take to make it truly dementia-friendly. We are grateful to staff who worked on the ward for their dedication in managing the space so well for so many years, and hope they enjoy working at Hammerton Court." ​