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TitleDeveloping supportive design for people with - The King's Fund
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Document Text Contents
Page 1

Improving the
patient experience

Developing Supportive
Design for People with

The King’s Fund’s
Enhancing the
Healing Environment
Programme 2009-2012

Page 2


Improving the patient

Developing Supportive Design
for People with Dementia

The King’s Fund’s
Enhancing the
Healing Environment

Page 55


Developing Supportive Design for People with Dementia

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
This redesign focused on recovery, reducing anxiety, improving appetite
and sleep through an attractive design that incorporates colour-coded bed
bays, photographic artwork and improved wayfinding

Initially, the team decided to concentrate
on improving the single rooms in this 24-
bedded medical ward, although it hoped
also to make some improvements to the
bed bays. However, following discussions
and the launch of its ‘Dignity in Dementia’
campaign, team members decided to seek
additional capital funding from the trust to
enable them to improve the entire ward.

The redesign centred on the importance
of nature, art, decoration, colour and
light, and the impact that these can have
on recovery, on reducing anxiety, and on
improving appetite and sleep patterns.
Part-way through the project, the team
members decided to change their designer
because they felt their original choice was
not able to interpret their brief. This was a
brave decision, and happily they appointed
another designer, who saw the project
through to completion.

After consultation, the team identified four
themes for the scheme, each linked to
the local area, including countryside and
seascapes. They then chose photographic
artwork to reflect these themes and provide
points for discussion and reminiscence.
Colours were chosen to reflect each theme,
and these were then used as accent colours
to aid orientation and create a calming,
therapeutic environment.

Natural wood-effect flooring is now laid
throughout the ward, providing a lighter and
more open feeling, while new lighting allows
staff to adjust lighting levels as required. The
approach to the ward has been de-cluttered
and visitors are now greeted by a beautiful
floor-to-ceiling image of a bluebell wood.

The nurses’ station has been replaced with
a smaller welcome desk, with a comfortable
seating area behind, showing visitors
clearly where to go when they first enter the
ward. An underused bathroom has been
redesigned as a recessed storage area for
notes and equipment. This doubles up as
a small workstation for clinical staff, while
dropdown desks are provided in the ward
for staff to write notes.

Each bay has been colour coded, with the
same shade used for circles on the doors,
panels between each of the beds, tabletops,
accent walls and blinds. Sliding panels allow
staff to hide patient details above the beds
when these are not required, protecting
confidentiality and promoting dignity. New,
larger glass panels in the doors allow
patients to see where they are going.

All the toilet doors have been painted yellow
and have text and picture signage to aid
wayfinding. The colours used inside the
rooms are reflected in the door surrounds,
shelves and memory boxes that are
provided for patients to put their favourite
objects in.

Bournemouth University contributed to the
scheme, along with many community
groups, and the team continues to
use every opportunity to publicise
its dementia services through
the campaign and associated
fundraising. The trust now sees
the ward as an example of
good practice, and will use it
to guide future refurbishment

“Be prepared to
become passionate
about your project!
It’s amazing how
important it becomes
to you. Enthusiasm
and passion really
help drive the project
Team leader

“I am extremely proud
of what we have
achieved. The ward is
a triumph, and I hope
that our ideas will be
used throughout the
hospital to carry on
our good work.”
PPI representative

Page 56



“The newly designed
ward is already
making a huge

difference to our
patients and staff.”

Head of

“This project has
really enabled me

to adopt a ‘can do’
attitude with regard

to putting forward
new ideas within the

Occupational therapist

“I couldn’t believe
it when I saw it. It’s

like going into a
posh hotel. It cheers

people up no end.”


Project summaries

Page 109


Developing Supportive Design for People with Dementia

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Medical Research Council (2008). Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions: New
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National Audit Office (2010). Improving Dementia Services in England: An interim report.
London: NAO.

NHS Confederation (2010). Acute Awareness: Improving hospital care for people with
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NHS Institute (2012). The Right Care: Creating dementia friendly hospitals. London: NHS

Nightingale F (1863). Notes on Hospitals. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and

Royal College of Nursing (2011). Commitment to the Care of People With Dementia in
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General Hospitals. London: RCP.

Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2009). Evaluation of the Enhancing the Healing
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Design. London: The King’s Fund.

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Waller S, Dewar S, Masterson A, Finn H (2008). Improving Environments for Care at End of
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Zekry D, Hermann FR, Grandjean R, Vitale AM, De Pinho MF, Michel JP, Gold G, Krause KH
(2009). ‘Does dementia predict adverse hospitalization outcomes? A prospective study in
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