New dementia-friendly wards are being created at Airedale Hospital.

The £700,000 scheme has included a refurbishment of Ward 4, which has been redecorated in a way that helps patients.

Co-ordinated bright colours have been used in bays and around new toilets, shower and bathrooms to help patients easily find their way back to their beds and prevent disorientation.

Stained glass windows have been incorporated into the design of the bays, which help to create a calming, peaceful atmosphere, especially in the early morning and evenings, and new curtains have been provided.

All the floors have been replaced and covered with non-shiny material, which patients perceive as less slippy and new ceiling tiles and lights have been installed.

A ‘reflections’ room has also been created, where patients and families can have some quiet time, which will be equipped with comfortable furnishings and pictures from the 1950’s displayed on loop on a monitor to trigger fond memories. There is also a small cafe, within the ward’s social and dining area, which will be supported by hospital volunteers to provide a sociable dining area. The newly-refurbished ward also includes a family room where relatives can spend longer periods of time with very poorly patients.

And the garden area is being redesigned, with the support of Rotary.

Elaine Andrews, assistant director of patient safety at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted with the improvements to our wards, and although the whole design has been centred around the needs of patients with dementia, it will also create a more pleasant environment for all our patients and staff.

“We have made the reception area on Ward 4 smaller, which will make it easier for staff to be based nearer to the patients and there will be a work station close to each bay.”

Improvements have also been made to Ward 9 – the orthopaedic ward – and will soon start on Ward 6, a ward for older people, followed by another general medical ward.

The improvements are part of the Trust’s “Here to Care” project funded following a successful bid to the Department of Health.