Monday, 2 June 2014

Improving the Environment for Patients with Dementia Project at the QA

As part of the Improving the Environment for Patient with Dementia project funded by the Department of Health, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust linked with the University of Portsmouth Illustration Department to produce pieces of meaningful artwork to display throughout Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The projects aim was to bring a bit of the patients home into hospital. Patients with dementia are less able to adapt to changes and do find it difficult to cope with new environment due to decrease in memory, concentration, orientation and visuospatial skills. By making the environment less clinical and more ‘home like’ we hoped to aid recovery and reduce the stress of transferring in and out of hospital.

The students were given a brief that pieces should take into account the needs and abilities of our dementia patients, and provide a focal point to engage and stimulate conversation. Key words used were; Home, Nature, Nurture, World without Words and Family & Friends.

Our aim in the beginning was to display 6-10 pieces; however on viewing it was too difficult to eliminate enough of them. We therefore chose a total of 22 and these were given to staff within the Medicine for Older People wards to choose their favourites. We originally thought of displaying them within dedicated patient areas, but had to find alternative areas such as reception areas and corridor spaces.

A big thank you to all of the students who took part in the 'Improving the Environment for Patients with Dementia' project. Your efforts are much appreciated and the pieces display a unique contribution to the hospital. Each and every piece produced showed us how a few words can be interpreted so differently. This is also evident when you see the patients, relatives and staffs reactions. Although we could not pick every piece, you did make it a very hard job! If we had the resources and space we would have loved to have used them all. In the end it was down to picking a variety of different pieces that would entice a wide audience. Of the pieces picked, the project team all had our favourites, but taking into account the brief the following have been picked for the top three prizes.
1st Oliver Arthur-Baines
2nd Phaedra Barr
3rd Charlotte Knowles

Photographs of the pictures in situ will follow as soon as we have them.