Revamped ward opened at Portsmouth hospital

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas helped by staff nurse Suzanne Elliott meets patient Iris Drew in the new elderly ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital Cosham.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (123524-3)
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas helped by staff nurse Suzanne Elliott meets patient Iris Drew in the new elderly ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital Cosham.'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (123524-3)
QA Hospital in Cosham

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BRIGHTER walls, bolder signs and bigger clocks are some of the new features in a hospital ward to make dementia patients feel less disorientated.

As part of an ongoing programme by Carillion, the F4 ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital has been revamped, and was formally opened yesterday.

Staff on the ward suggested ways to adapt the environment to better meet the needs of older patients during their stay.

This includes having coloured rooms – six colours it total – so that patients can identify where they came from if they leave.

Signs around the ward have been made bigger so they are easier to read and there’s a new ward reception that faces people as they enter.

Beverley Vaughan, matron for medicine for older people, rehabilitation and stroke, said: ‘Often patients will come in through the emergency department and get seen by someone else before they come to us.

‘It can get quite late and it can be bewildering for patients, who may not know where they are.

‘That’s why we had bigger signs put in.

‘It’s also why we have larger clocks, telling the date as well so people are aware.

‘Dementia patients also react better to contrasting colours.

‘The wards are different colours and this way patients will better remember which they are in if they’re coming back from somewhere.’

The work took six weeks to complete.

Patients were transferred to F3 while the work took place.

It was officially opened by Ursula Ward, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas and Carol 
Elliot of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Carol said: ‘It’s excellent this has been done and 
it’s a step in the right direction.

‘The key aspect is to make sure all the patients are treated as individuals.’

Nurses and doctors have also received updated training to work with dementia patients in a better way.

Staff now hope it can apply for a share of £50m government funding, pledged for dementia care, and use it to update wards F1, F2, F3, G2, G3, Cedar ward in Petersfield Community Hospital and the Ark Royal at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.