A package of Altro floors and walls has been used to create an optimum environment of safety, calmness and wellbeing for dementia patients on a general ward at Salisbury District Hospital. The improvements to Redlynch Ward are the first phase of a wider programme that will see Altro products used for future modernisation work on general wards at Salisbury District Hospital, where patients with dementia may need to be treated.
Altro has developed product ranges and colours specifically designed for use with people who have dementia. This has come about through close co-operation with the University of Stirling's Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), to gain a greater understanding of how the physical environment impacts on those with dementia.
Redlynch Ward at Salisbury District Hospital comprises two separate units, and having been in use for over 20 years they were due for modernisation. Phase one of the project was to refurbish one of the units, and specifying the walls and floors to meet the variety of complex requirements was the task of the hospital's ArtCare design team, headed up by Lesley Meaker. “Life for dementia patients can be frustrating, confusing and distressing,” she explained. “It was our aim to create an environment tailored to their needs - a truly dementia-friendly ward - one that would help to minimise the stresses that they suffer and make their lives more manageable. In refurbishing this first unit we also wanted to set a standard, a universal principle - a template - that we could replicate elsewhere in the knowledge that it is the best possible environment for mental healthcare. The parameters for dementia healthcare environments are wide and varied and we had a whole raft of considerations. The layout of the ward is complex and potentially confusing, so our overarching aim was to improve orientation for patients and create a clear, uncluttered and easy to navigate space. Floors must to be very safe underfoot - especially when wet - slip-resistant and sparkle-free, so as not to confuse people with dementia. Colours need to be neutral, with no patterns or ambiguous designs that can potentially upset patients, and finishes must be matt and muted. There also needs to be good contrast between floors and walls...Altro's expertise in designing products for these specialist environments has given us the ability to create what we feel is the benchmark for future projects. We are now looking forward to using the same principles to modernise the second unit, and we are also hoping to refurbish a hospice with Altro products.”