September 2019

Derwent Ward Dementia Care

The original brief to Hunters was to transform a tired 1970’s designed ward in Kingston Hospital into a dementia friendly space. The short video gives a summary of the strategies to support patients.

The existing ward has a benefit of containing a six-bed bay designated as an Activity Room. This allowed flexibility is re-allocating and positioning this space to create more suitably located day space, without a loss of overall bed numbers.

The functional elements including clear signs, non-slip matt flooring, symbols with no words and individually coloured rooms are all features put in place to help dementia patients distinguish where they are within the ward. Bold and bright was the daytime design strategy and calm and ordered at night – the new design has a 1950’s style and was kitted out with homely sofas, modern bathrooms, social spaces and different lighting to suit different uses.

This collaborative project worked due to the determination of the hospital, accepting ideas and challenging preconceptions of what it should look and feel like, this inclusive process with key stakeholders included The Alzheimers Society.

“I was completely bowled over when I visited Derwent Ward; so much imagination, thought and care has gone into creating a calm, light and structured space, where patients who may be confused and scared can feel safe, looked after and not so far from home. I wish my own father had been somewhere like this.”

Nicci Gerrard, Co-founder of John’s Campaign

The existing and completed wards were scored by Kingston Hospital using the University of Stirling Dementia Toolkit. The overall score had more than doubled after the work. The measurements of success were:

  • Number of falls dropped by nearly half
  • Length of stay dropped by nearly a third
  • Number of pressure ulcers reduced by a third
  • Incidents of violence and aggression reduced whilst other wards increased in the same period

Key decisions reach during the consultation process included:

  • Ward staff bought into the concept of omitting central nurse bases and including local touch down bases throughout the ward
  • Locating a small ward clerk base to the entrance to the word, acting as a welcome reception space
  • Including multi-disciplinary team room within the ward for confidential staff meeting and handover
  • Furniture procurement
  • Small storage within each multi-bed bay for consumables and patient records

The final designs considered:

  • Colour for way-finding
  • Lighting for day and night
  • Flooring to feel safe
  • Artwork to visualise the area
  • Social spaces
  • De-cluttering