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State-of-the-art ward for dementia patients set to open

People with dementia will receive expert care in specially-designed state-of-the-art surroundings when Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust opens a new inpatient ward.

The 13-bed Beach Ward will open at Hammerton Court, in Norwich, at the end of May. It will offer care to patients with acute needs, as well as assessment and treatment planning, and will replace the beds currently provided on Blickling Ward at the Julian Hospital.

The change has been arranged to bring all of the Trust's beds for dementia patients into the purpose-built £13.7m Hammerton Court unit, which opened in 2012 and has been specially designed to include a wide range of dementia-friendly features. This includes sensory and visual prompts, homelike furnishings and reminiscence rooms with music, photo albums and archive TV footage, the unit provides a more modern environment for patients, relatives and staff.

Chas Lockwood, Service Manager at the Trust, said: "Although hundreds of patients have received high quality care on Blickling Ward over the years, the design of the ward has limited the steps we have been able to take to make it truly dementia-friendly.

"Beach Ward provides the perfect solution. Light and airy, the building has high ceilings, wide corridors and 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 staff with a pristine environment in which to work.

"We have planned the move carefully to minimise any disruption and look forward to completing the relocation for the benefit of our patients and their families and carers."

Staff on Beach Ward will work on discharge planning from the early stages of a patient's admission, with discharge plans put into action once the acute episode has been addressed. For some patients, this will involve a transfer to Hammerton Court's existing wards – Reed or Rose – for specialist continuing care. As part of the project, an extra bed is being added to each of these wards to allow them to cater for up to 13 patients at a time. 

Michael Scott, Chief Executive gave his personal thanks to staff on the old Blickling Ward for the expert support they had provided to patients over the years and for fully supporting them through the move into the new premises.

"We're delighted you will be able to offer the very best care to our patents in the very best surroundings from now on. We hear all the time how highly patients and carers regard the care you offer, keep up the fantastic work," he said.