Hospital Design & Dementia Ward Architects
We believe in non-corporate, non-adversarial life affirming design that encourages a sense of community and supports the five ways to wellbeing.
Sensitive arrangement of space, maximisation of natural light and a focus on socially pro-active design improves opportunities for people to support their own sense of self and therefore their own wellbeing.
Instead of homogenous spaces, we create highly orientating, meaningful places where people can be and naturally support their sense of self determination and identity.
To connect with others, to be active to take notice and remember the simple things that give you joy. To keep learning, to embrace opportunities, to give your presence, your words and time. These are proven to re-enforce wellbeing, and can be dramatically effected by the way spaces are arranged and designed.
We believe as hospital, ward, dementia and care architects and designers that the architecture of these places can be friendly, domestic, open and embracing. We also can demonstrate that design based on principles that support the care team alongside those being cared for creates long term efficiencies without expanding short term costs.
Nurses at NHS Lothian’s mental health Thistle Ward made a huge step forward...
solely through the use of personalised decoration, giving users of the ward a sense of self, place and ownership. The transformations they noticed by this simple change in care model were astounding: Reduced physical and verbal aggression, improved social interaction, encouraged individuality, reduced anxiety, improved well being. Improved staff job satisfaction, improved relationships with family and staff. Residents moods were lifted. Residents appeared to have better focus and grasp on reality. More pride is taken in the environment and its upkeep by both staff and patients. Patient who self isolate become more motivated to interact with others, and wanted to keep improving their home from home.
“…it makes a massive, massive impact on their mental health and well being… …we took the risk and it paid off… it was a good risk to take…”
“…it was so simple, but the effect it had on the patients…”
“…reflecting on what we've done, seeing the patients themselves and the improvement in their mental health, their physical well being, its so worth it…”
NHS Lothian - Thistle Ward - Patient Experience Network National Overall Award Winners
If such a straight forward interaction that supports sense of self can create this kind of impact, the question is, what if the ward or hospital was designed with a social, non-corporate, sensory focus, domestic scale and although clinically sound, not use the clinical aesthetic, but rather an aesthetic centred on wellbeing?
Our approach to Hospital and Ward design for improved wellbeing, improved efficiency and dementia friendly structure.
New Ward Reception Spaces:
Ward reception will be moved to the ward entrance, directly visible from and spreading into the stairway and elevator hall, leading to the Beacon Day Room. It will have unique shape, memorable decorations and textures.
The Beacon Day Room (on ward live / dine social area):
This room will be the heart of the ward and become its social hub; the spearhead of our new approach. It will transform attitudes to care. It will be a key orientation tool for patients, and an excellent place to convalesce while feeling at home in a desirable, beautiful location, filled with natural light and memorable way-finding motifs. It should have a balconied panorama window with good aspect idealy out onto green tree filled natural spaces.
While retaining one main meals kitchen, we will make the other into an interactive public snacks kitchen for patients and their visitors. This tool gives a real sense of empowerment to people otherwise reliant on their care environment. To make a sandwich with a family member, friend, volunteer or nurse or alone if able, can be an extremely therapeutic and self affirming activity.
Special Nursing Station Layout:
Our special spatial layout design with strategic positioning of nursing stations means that your specialist staffing numbers can be reduced while improving overall quality of care. We understand that currently there are 8-10 nurses per ward. Using our proposed model it may be possible to only require 6-9 nurses per area due to improved local bay based passive supervision. These valuable savings can be used to increase your funding for Task Shifting and Volunteers, and for further on ward improvements / initiatives in the future.
Example Special Spatial Layout:
Each ward will be divided into 2 sections, containing two bays of 12 beds, with 2 en-suite side rooms. A 360° vision nursing station will have direct vision into each bay and side room, an activity social space and key views from the central thoroughfare to the Beacon Day Room, the w.c’s, and central reception. There will be accessible w.c. and bathing facilities for each side room, and for each bay, as well as around the ward for those venturing around “The Beacon”.
Person Centred Bay and Side Room Environments:
Each of the beds within the bays and the side rooms will have innovative surroundings which will be developed in concert with your medical expertise. These surroundings will allow personalisation of personal space to be maximised and the ability to bring pictures / self affirming key possessions safely onto the ward and into their “home from home”. We will apply our 5 point empowerment model wherever possible for all beds in both the bays and the side rooms.
Off Ward Sensory Garden Social Space:
This will deliver a sense of getting “off the ward” to somewhere calm, social and interactive, whilst remaining safe and well oriented. It will be an easily customisable space which encourages individual reminiscence and psychological stimulation. A way point towards returning to optimum health and well being.
Way Finding and Signage:
Way-finding will be immediately transformed by the introduction of the New Reception and the Beacon Day Room. These will self advertise as memorable visual stimuli for safe wayfinding throughout the wards. They are visible from all the public areas, the striking design will be visible even from the end of the ward thoroughfare. Each Bay would be a different colour scheme and the brightest will be the Beacon Day Room. Handrails will be appropriately located and assist way-finding using both texture and colour. Signage will be designed / selected with our support to work with maximum effect in conjunction with decoration and other inbuilt way finding tools. Additionally we will use locally sourced multi cultural imagery and art works, variable ambience lighting systems and appropriate floor and ceiling finishes.