Dementia friendly ward environment at Frimley Park Hospital

ContactDr Edward Wernick, GP, Dementia Lead, NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG
Telephone08444 125 888
Address4 Downing Street, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7PA

This project aims to dedicate a ward area with an outside area and tailor the environment to improve the wellbeing and enhance the recovery of people with dementia whilst at Frimley Park Hospital.

At least one in four people accessing acute hospital services are likely to have dementia and the number of people with dementia is expected to double over the next 30 years. The Department of Health has produced a dementia strategy with the aim of ensuring that people with dementia receive high-quality care in all health care settings. Hospital stays in particular are recognised to have detrimental effects on people with dementia. Yet the evidence from the Enhancing the Kings Fund Enhancing the Hea ling Environment programme is that relatively straightforward and inexpensive changes to the design and fabric of the care environment can have a considerable impact on the well-being of people with dementia, as well as improving staff morale and reducing overall costs.

Over the last few years Frimley Park Hospital has made some progress in developing aspects of the ward environment to support the stay of people in hospital with dementia, however so far we have not had the flexibility to create a separate and suitable ward area designed specifica lly for people with dementia.

The project is designed to use the Kings Fund Enhancing the Healing Environment
Assessment Tools to identify the areas for improvement needed in the elderly care wards.

Then using the 5 domains within the design principles that are known to support, encourage and enable people with dementia in unfamiliar buildings ( ie Legibility, Orientation, Wayfinding, Familiarity and Meaningful Activity) we will dedicate and redesign one of the ward areas specifica lly for people with dementia.

The assessment tool and design principals have been developed in collaboration with NHS trusts participating in The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE)
programme and informed by research and evidence of best practice

Through this project we would want to use the environment and approaches we use on this ward to help other staff within the hospital understand and appreciate how to improve the stay for patients on other wards, such as the surgical wards,in the hospital.

The senior management in the hospital has signed up to supporting the project and identified an improvement in the hospital environment as an action on the risk register.


  • To  improve the  safe care of  people with  dementia  by  making sure that  there environment is   designed to  meet  the  specific needs of patients with dementia in preference to that suitable for a generally acute unwell individual
  • To improve the patient and career experience by providing a tailored environment that promotes wellbeing and is designed to enable relatives and carers to take an active role in supporting the patient during their stay
  • To improve the outcomes for patients with dementia by designing and implementing an environment  which  research and evidence has   shown is more likely to  re-establish independence following a stay in an  acute hospital
  • Along with patients and carers assess the current environment and agree what changes need to be made
  • To create an  environment within which people with dementia who need a  stay in an acute hospital can be supported
  • Raising awareness of the needs of patients with dementia and demonstrate a number of simple approaches that  can be sued on other wards, such as  in surgery, to support people with dementia
  • To encourage families and careers of people with dementia to take a part in the life of the patient while they are in the hospital by providing a suitable environment in which this can  happen.

 Anticipated outcomes

  • Reduced length of stay in an  acute environment for patients with dementia
  • Improved carer and relative satisfaction; measured as  an increase in compliments and or a reduction in complaints
  • Less  reported incidents  or near misses for people with dementia, other  patients  as  a consequence of an  action of a  patient with dementia and staff  as  a  consequence of patients with dementia as a consequence of their environment

Progress update

In October 2013, the project is at the planning stage.