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Top award for dementia unit

A £1.65m project to transform a ward at Beccles Hospital to meet the highest dementia-friendly standards has been presented with a prestigious national award for the quality of its design.

LSI Architects, which was commissioned to carry out the improvements by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Property Services, received the prize for best dementia care facility at the Building Better Healthcare awards.

It comes after LSI Architects worked collaboratively with staff from the CCG and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), which runs the hospital, to develop the scheme to enhance and extend the Minsmere Ward.

Carefully designed to be welcoming, logical and comforting, the refurbishment uses colours, text and images which meet the highest dementia-friendly standards. It includes a circular corridor to encourage walking and movement, while each seating area is unique and offers markers to help patients to navigate their way through the building.

The external spaces were also developed with vulnerable people in mind, and include a safe and secure ‘dementia garden’ with seating and raised planters, so that patients can enjoy contact with nature.

The Building Better Healthcare judges commented that: “The hospital environment is so important for patients with dementia. It can really make or break the healing and recovery process, so it is great to see thought being put into this refurbishment project. There are wonderful touches, including bright interiors and clean, friendly spaces, which patients of all ages will appreciate.”

Ben Wall, an associate with LSI Architects, said: “Creating environments suitable for people living with dementia is increasingly a major consideration in the design of healthcare environments.

“We have applied our significant learning and experience of key dementia design principles from previous projects to the refurbishment of the Minsmere Ward, and are delighted to now see the ward recognised as a leading example of a dementia friendly hospital environment.”

Rebecca Hulme, chief nurse with the CCG, said: “We are delighted that the Minsmere Ward has received this national accolade. A hospital admission can be daunting for anyone, but especially for someone with dementia. It is really important we do as much as we possibly can to make their stay easier, and creating the right environment is a vital part of that.

“Our thanks go to everyone who was involved in this fantastic refurbishment, along with our congratulations on this well-deserved award.”

ECCH’s operations director Adele Madin said: “We’re so pleased that Minsmere Ward has been recognised for its dementia friendly facilities. Much thought and collaboration went into the design and our nurses frequently receive positive feedback from patients and their visitors about how the surroundings complement the high quality care they receive.

“Congratulations LSI and thank you for creating a space that works so well for our patients and our staff.”

The Minsmere Ward provides intense rehabilitation and reablement so that patients can return to an independent life as quickly as possible. Construction was carried out by P J Spillings in partnership with NHS Property Services, and was completed in early 2017.

published on 05/11/2018

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1 Common Lane North
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