£250,000 dementia wards upgrade starts @LPTnhs

Work has started on a £250,000 upgrade to the two specialist dementia wards for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The wards are based at the Evington Centre, off Gwendolen Road, Leicester, and accommodate up to 21 men and 21 women with moderate to advanced stages of dementia.

The work will bring major improvements to the patients’ experiences, following advances in scientific knowledge about dementia over the past 15 years.

All blue flooring is being replaced, after research showed some people with dementia confused blue floors with water. There will be greater contrast between floor colours and the walls, making it easier for patients to keep their balance and find their way around the wards, and the lighting will be improved.

The work will also involve tackling the subsidence in one ward, which is currently disused but will become an active ward. The work is being carried out in phases to minimise disruption; once it is complete patients will use Gwendolen and Coleman wards instead of Wakerley and Coleman as at present.

The project is due to be complete by February 2018.

During the work, part of the Evington Centre staff car park will be closed, and patients and visitors may hear some construction noise.

Laura Belshaw, deputy head of service, said: “These are exciting times.

“The changes bring the wards up to the standards evidence has shown are better for people with dementia.

“The changes will make the wards lighter and brighter, creating a more pleasant place for patients, visitors and staff.”

To compliment the work, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s charitable arm Raising Health is launching an appeal for equipment that will enhance the lives of patients in these wards.

The Colour My Memories Appeal will buy items which support meaningful activities through reminiscence. Using objects or taking part in meaningful activities which connect a person to their past (reminiscence) can have a positive, calming effect.