In the UK, a quarter of hospital beds are occupied by people over 65 who are living with dementia. At Kingston Hospital, this figure is closer to 50%; however, the existing cluttered and crowded ward space didn’t cater to the needs of the hospital’s patients who are living with dementia.
Looking for a fresh design that would support the wellbeing of both patients and staff, Kingston Hospital asked Johnstone’s Trade’s colour experts to develop a colour scheme that would reinvigorate its dementia-friendly ward.
Donna Taylor, Principle Technical Colour Consultant at Johnstone’s Trade, said: “Colour is a fundamental part of dementia-friendly environments. With semantic dementia, for example, people may need to rely on conceptual knowledge to identify places and objects – colour plays a crucial role in stimulating this recognition.
“As our eyes get older, however, colour becomes less vivid. It’s therefore important to use bolder colours in dementia-friendly design to help patients recognise them more easily. There is a fine line though, as too much colour can be confusing and overwhelming for someone living with dementia.”
Working with Hunters, the team at Johnstone’s Trade were tasked with developing a highly specialised colour scheme.
Johnstone’s Trade’s design uses only six colours, specifically chosen for their contrasting, light-reflective values. This carefully selected palette helps Kingston Hospital's patients navigate their way around the Derwent Ward and identify different rooms, bed spaces and doorways.
As well as offering advice about dementia-friendly colour and paint technology, Johnstone’s Trade has also provided products that will help to increase the maintenance lifecycle of the ward significantly.
Olivia Frimpong, Service Improvement Lead for Dementia at Kingston Hospital, commented: “Keeping the ward looking clean and fresh is really important as we want our patients to feel comfortable in their surroundings. This can be difficult in such busy hospital corridors, so we needed paint that was durable enough to withstand the daily wear-and-tear of both patient and staff traffic – as well as any potential scuffs and damage from moving beds and other furniture around the ward.”
The team specified a number of Johnstone’s Trade’s durable paint technologies. The use of Water Based Satin, for example, means door frames and wall trims will stay whiter for longer, reducing the need for future upkeep and disruption to the ward. The product has been developed to be as durable as solvent-based equivalents, while offering the added benefits of low odour emissions and faster drying times, further decreasing any potential upset to building users. This was used alongside Johnstone’s Trade’s Acrylic Durable Matt, a premium quality matt emulsion designed to offer outstanding resilience for interior walls and ceilings.
In addition, Johnstone’s Trade’s Microbarr Anti-Bacterial Acrylic paint was used within the ward. With its innovative technology, the water-based coating inhibits the growth of bacteria such as MRSA and E.coli.
To complement Johnstone’s Trade’s colour scheme, Hunters created a refurbishment plan that focused entirely on dementia-friendly design. Human-centric LED lighting has been installed, which automatically adjusts to suit the time of day and provides a soothing, homely atmosphere for patients. Five new social spaces have also been introduced to encourage patients away from their bedside and to accommodate relatives and carers. Rationalisation of equipment stores and provision of local consumable storage has decluttered corridors, creating clear spaces that will support patients through their treatment and help them to cope with the daily challenges of living with dementia.
Visitors describe the finished ward as a calm and open space. Commenting on the completed design, Olivia said: “The changes have completely transformed the quality of care offered to patients. The new ward is bold and bright with fantastic open spaces that help both staff and patients move around freely. The quieter, more intimate rooms have a real homely feel that is familiar for our patients and helps them to feel comfortable on the ward. We hope that this level of care and accommodation will soon be available to everyone living with dementia.”
The finished project was a finalist at the Dementia Friendly Awards last year, hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society.