Lessons from dementia-friendly village

24 May 2016

The trust’s dementia lead has described how residents in a dementia-friendly village in the Netherlands are leading longer and happier lives than those in ordinary care homes.

Speaking at the 'medicine for members' event last Thursday, occupational therapist Danielle Wilde said that the environment in which healthcare is delivered can have a huge impact on patients.

“Dementia is the most feared health issue among the over 50s,” said Danielle. “The challenge for hospitals is to make sure that we create the right setting for all the different patients we care for.

“If you make the environment more pleasant you can affect not only patient experience but clinical outcomes as well. People with dementia stay longer in hospital, are more likely to fall and are more likely to require nursing home care. They are also 50% less likely to receive pain relief.”

Danielle said that De Hogeweyk, a dementia-friendly village in Amsterdam, aims to make life as comfortable and familiar as possible for its 152 residents.

They live in houses of six, because that is what people would have been used to. The houses are divided into seven lifestyles, which reflect the upbringings of the different residents: working class; middle class, aristocratic, Indonesian, Christian, rural and cultural.

“It’s not about segregating people,” said Danielle. “It’s about making residents feel comfortable. Everything has been created to reflect the way they would normally have lived. There is a supermarket and they go shopping there, they socialise normally, they go to the pub, they have concerts and plays. It’s all a familiar environment.”

Danielle also talked about how to bring learnings from De Hogeweyk to the Royal Free London and talked about the dementia-friendly services at the trust, such as the dementia-friendly Larch ward at Barnet Hospital and the plans for the dementia garden at Chase Farm Hospital.

The Royal Free London regularly holds free NHS events for members which are open to patients, staff and the public. If you are not yet a member and would like to come along, you are more than welcome. You can also support the trust and strengthen our three hospitals’ links with the local community by signing up for NHS membership. Find out more about becoming a member.


Image: Danielle Wilde speaking at the event.

Notes to editors

Media contacts: mary.mcconnell2@nhs.net or call 020 7472 6665

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 and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, 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'.