Larch Ward becomes dementia-friendly

26 July 2015

Larch Ward at Barnet Hospital is being transformed into a dementia–friendly environment for elderly people.
Key areas such as bed bays, bathrooms and toilets will be clearly defined with primary colours and themed images to give patients a sense of place and create an environment that is easier to navigate. The ward will be visually interesting, with photographic images and pictures.

Each bed bay will have its own theme to ensure patients have a sense of place within the bay and the ward will have enhanced lighting and signage, clearly visible calendars and day/night clocks and positioned grab rails. Wood flooring will be laid, as lino can appear wet or slippery to dementia patients. The communal area has a ‘tip tree’ table in place, which are brightly coloured  and set out with activities and drinks to help the patients stay hydrated. This area will be further enhanced with its own colour theme as well as a visual clock, calendar and wall mounted television.

The £300k funding for the project was inspired by a charitable donation from the Mayor of Barnet who, during his term of office in 2012, donated £46,000 to Barnet Hospital dementia care as one of his chosen charities. The work will be complete in the autumn.

Ward sister Kate Hennessey said: “These changes will make a real difference to patients on Larch Ward. Not all of our patients have dementia, but many of them do. We are making changes that research has shown will help patients feel less agitated, which will help their recovery and means they can return home sooner.”

Larch Ward also has a white board featuring inspirational quotes and messages, to which patients, visitors and staff can contribute. Quotes on the wall include, “Happiness is working on Larch” and “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Kate added: “One of the clerks started writing on it and then it just took off.  It boosts morale – anyone can write on it. We are saving it so as the renovation work on the ward continues, the wall will move about.”

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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read: A bigger trust, a better future.