A home-from-home environment has been created for dementia patients at Ellesmere Port Hospital with the opportunity for family members to learn how to look after their loved ones.
The ‘next-step-home’ facility has been named Kate’s Corner because the new approach was inspired by the experience of dementia patient Kathleen ‘Kate’ Herbert, 90, and her family.
Last year Kate received hospital treatment for a painful pressure sore.
Her children Ron and Rosemary were willing to provide round-the-clock care for their mother post-discharge in a bid to prevent her going into a care home.
And a two-day stay in the area now called Kate’s Corner gave them the chance to learn the necessary clinical skills ready for when their mum was discharged home a few days later.
Ron, who cut the ribbon to open the facility, thinks it will be a great asset to the hospital and is immensely proud his mother’s journey will help others in future.
“What they’ve done in that ward is give us back our mum. And for that we will be forever grateful,” he said.
The project, in partnership with NHS Property Services, transformed Ruby Ward into a small apartment built as a bespoke dementia-friendly environment. The space also allows relatives to learn or demonstrate they know how to take care of their loved ones post-discharge.
Kate’s Corner was introduced as part of a £100,000 scheme, using tools and good practice from a national programme by the Department of Health and Kings Fund.
Matron Clare Edwards said: “Kate’s Corner is the result of a massive achievement which I take some personal pride in as well as great pride in the team on the Ruby Ward.
“It is an environment which will benefit patients of the future and improve their experience in hospital.”
The facility offers the following advantages:
■ Relatives or carers can stay in the room alongside patients to learn relevant techniques under the supervision of hospital staff
■ Kate’s Corner has two beds, a personal television, an en suite and a kettle
■ The ‘home-from-home’ décor has been designed to look and feel very different from traditional clinical environments
■ This facility can be used to improve end-of-life care by providing a quiet, dignified space for patients and their families
Refurbished Ruby Ward, which was designed by architects from Cassidy + Ashton, also includes a new lounge area and a nostalgia room called Memory Lane.
The lounge has been introduced in place of a disused nursing station and has been kitted out like a normal living room, with an artificial fire, comfortable armchairs and a virtual fish tank.
Memory Lane is a bigger space that is perfect for patients to socialise and have a cup of tea together. Along the walls on either side are various nostalgia items and board games for patients to play.
Tasmin Purssell, assistant project manager at NHS Property Services, who coordinated the scheme, said: “It’s a wonderful facility, which will provide reassurance and reminiscence to the patients and I was delighted to be involved.
“The ward was designed based on guidance and principles from The Kings Fund, the National Dementia Strategy and the Prime Minister’s ‘Challenge on Dementia’.
“There is increasing evidence that the physical environment within which care is delivered has a major impact on the outcomes of care for patients living with dementia, the experience of care for them and their carers, and the experience and reward for staff.”