VIDEO: New dementia friendly wards opened at Bedford Hospital

Bedford Hospital’s new dementia friendly wards were officially unveiled today.

Bedford Hospital’s new dementia friendly wards were officially unveiled on Friday.

MBTC - New Bedford Hospital dementia ward

MBTC - New Bedford Hospital dementia ward

The new refurbished Harpur and Elizabeth Wards were designed as part of a £1 million project to create a pioneering specialist environment to support dementia care across Bedford.

The project, the branchild of former matron Sheila Hartnett, was formally opened by Bedford and Kempston MP Richard Fuller who congratulated the partners involved before being taken on a tour of the wards.

He said the hospital was facing up to the ‘dementia challenge’ with a positive response in providing the best possible level of care for patients

He said: “It’s a real focus on where this hospital needs to go. Dementia affects us all and the problem is growing. It’s part of life and we need to put a lot of work and effort into creating the best form of care and life for those affected by dementia.

MBTC Bedford Hospital dementia ward opening

MBTC Bedford Hospital dementia ward opening

“This initiative and these excellent new facilities is part of that response to dementia in providing an environment where people can feel safe and where they can rceive the proper care they need.”

Nina Fraser, director of nursing, said: “We at Bedford Hospital have always strived to provide excellent care for our patients with dementia.

“The fantastic new facilities available on Harpur and Elizabeth Wards provided will allow us to deliver outstanding care to these patients, their families and their carers within a specifically designed environment.

“Bedford Hospital is seeing an increasing number of acutely ill patients with dementia and this has prompted us to respond with the improvements on these wards.”

She explained: “One in four hospital beds in the UK is occupied by someone with dementia and the diagnosis, care and long-term support for people with dementia, and their carers is a local and national priority for the NHS and Bedford Hospital is pleased to be able to respond so positively.”

The new dementia friendly wards have been designed to benefit patients’ physical and mental health. These innovative ideas include providing comfortable and familiar areas to lessen anxiety patients often feel when going to and from hospital.

Changes include colour zoning and familiarisation areas that enable patients to settle more quickly, and a social area where activities such as drawing, painting and reading are encouraged.

The reception area is vibrant and welcoming with clear signage to help patients negotiate the wards along with special non-slip flooring.

The Friends of Bedford Hospital charity has supported the project by providing furnishing for two non-clinical Quiet Rooms adjacent to Elizabeth and Harpur Wards.

The new Quiet Rooms, co-ordinated in relaxing colours, will be havens of peace for patients who find it hard to eat their meals and to recover well in the unfamiliar surroundings of a ward.

The furniture has been designed to be stable, comfortable and hygienic with rounded corners; specially-designed crockery and cutlery will assist with independent eating.

Easy-to-read clocks show day, date and month as well as the time, and for patients with advanced dementia DVDs will provide a succession of still images to stimulate their minds along with memory walls with photos of Bedford from when the patients were younger.

n For video see our website bedfordtoday.co.uk