Village space revamp for dementia patients

Thursday, 22 February, 2024

Village space revamp for dementia patients

A village-like space has been unveiled within the Cognitive Assessment and Management (CAM) Unit at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.

Supported by The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation via The Common Good initiative, the hospital has recently implemented ‘Charlie’s Village’ — a transformation of the unit’s outdoor area into a village-like space, which includes custom-built familiar facades such as a hair salon, bakery and cafe, general store, hotel and post office.

This community area sits within the specialist dementia care unit, where patients with dementia and other cognitive impairments receive care — with an average stay duration of 29 days.

The facility revamp was designed in collaboration with frontline clinicians and geriatricians to create environments for patients in the ward to visit. The overarching goal was to help them feel confident and connected, while also allowing them to maintain some independence and mobility.

Given that research shows the surrounding environment can trigger behavioural changes in patients with dementia, this new space will also assist staff in managing those behaviours as it allows for positive diversion. Patients often have tea and coffee with their friends and family within this outdoor space, so the rejuvenation makes it an even more inviting place where loved ones can spend time together.

“I think Charlie’s Village will help people feel more settled. They’ll feel like they’re at the shops or at the cafe rather than in that acute hospital setting. It will give them something to engage with cognitively, and as the familiar scenes may jog some people’s memories and elicit feelings of nostalgia, they may have conversations about life outside of hospital and what they used to do,” said Khera Kim, Nurse Practitioner Delirium and Dementia Service, The Prince Charles Hospital.

“Bringing patients into an environment that’s more homely or looks like a normal community can help people feel better about themselves, and their quality of life can improve.”

The upgrade to The Prince Charles Hospital’s CAM Unit was proposed as part of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation’s 2022 Giving Day.

“This is a prime example of the significant and positive impacts that can be achieved when people come together to help others live healthier for longer. We are so excited that this space is now a reality for patients and their families, and are proud to facilitate a project on behalf of the community that will help so many people for years to come,” said Steve Francia, CEO of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation.

Image: Supplied.

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