Hospital artwork created to aid care around dementia

Dementia art
Hospital artwork created to aid care around dementia
13 March 2015

Fairfield General Hospital’s dementia medical ward 21 and a number of other wards based within the other three hospitals run by The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have benefited from stunning photographic artwork installed as part of improvements designed to make patient areas and hospital environments more dementia friendly.

Lime Arts in Health has worked closely with the facilities teams at the Trust, staff and patients, on an ambitious series of carefully considered images of local spaces and places.

The projects are aimed at improving hospital environments involved in dementia care, through government funding secured by the Trust.

Arts project manager, Rob Vale, worked with acclaimed local photographer Chris Foster on the new artworks. 

Rob said: “Each ward was looked at separately in terms of what imagery might best work to improve it. In some cases we looked to generate photographs of local architecture – spaces that have remained the same for some time.  These form recognisable features and talking points.  We incorporated maps of the area as points of discussion as well. In other spaces Chris would talk to staff about beautiful spaces of places that they and patients wanted represented, bringing the beauty of this region into the hospital spaces.”

“This artwork has become a functioning aspect of patient care, through reducing anxiety and aiding orientation. It complements the changes that have been made to way finding, colours, layout and lighting of these patient areas.”

The new 23-bedded medical ward at Fairfield which opened last year has been specially designed to create a dementia friendly environment to care for those suffering with the debilitating disease. 

Ward manager, Sister Judith Maden, said:

“The environment in which we care for patients with dementia can make a huge difference and we have invested resources with the aim of making the ward less alienating for people with cognitive problems. The artwork used has been focused on local landmarks and scenery such as Holcombe Hill the famous Sir Robert Peel statue and it is perceived that patients will recognise and relate to the images that have been used.”

Research has shown that changes to the environment in which dementia patients are treated can have a positive impact on falls, aggressive behaviours and staff morale, with an overall improvement in the quality and outcomes of patient care.

Other wards and patient areas that have benefited from the new installed artwork includes the orthopaedic ward T7 and the Lucy Pugh outpatient department at The Royal Oldham Hospital, wards J5 and I5 at North Manchester General Hospital, and the Floyd Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Birch Hill in Rochdale.