New dementia-friendly artwork to enliven hospital wards

31 May 2016

Our £20,000 funding to transform the walls of wards at Newham University Hospital will help patients with dementia feel more comfortable in their surroundings.

New dementia-friendly artwork for Thistle Ward at Newham Hospital New dementia-friendly artwork for Thistle Ward at Newham Hospital New dementia-friendly artwork for Thistle Ward at Newham Hospital Tayberry Ward artwork Tayberry Ward artwork Tayberry Ward artwork

Update - 30/09/2016: Tayberry Ward's makeover was completed this month! There are some pictures a little further down the page.

Update - 11/08/2016: The artwork was installed on Thistle Ward this week, as Rebecca Thomson and Vital Arts transformed it into Thistle Street! We've added some pictures below.

The project was initiated by hospital staff at Newham and now Vital Arts – the organisation that delivers art programmes for the wellbeing of patients at Barts Health NHS Trust – is working with a group of recent graduates from Central Saint Martins  to reimagine the wards in a way that’s dementia-friendly and accommodating.

Evidence shows that inpatient environments that are uplifting and soothing are incredibly important in decreasing frustration and boredom in people with dementia, as well as helping with rehabilitation and reducing depression for stroke survivors.

Memorabilia and artwork – developed in close consultation with dementia specialists – will help with nostalgia, so patients can reminisce as part of cognitive therapy groups with therapists.

“We know that the environment in which dementia patients are cared for can have a highly positive impact on outcomes for patients, as well as supporting hospital staff too,” said Clair Sim, Grants Manager at Barts Charity.

“This project, coupled with our recent funding to improve the dementia wards at Whipps Cross, demonstrates our commitment to support initiatives that help patients with dementia get the best care possible.”

Catsou Roberts, Director of Vital Arts, added: “We are delighted with this project to transform the wards, by using an art strategy that will create dementia-friendly areas for our patients that are also playful, engaging and driven by good, intelligent design by recent Central St Martins graduates.”

In response to some of the artwork being trialled on Thistle ward, Senior Nurse Dionne Daniel said: “The patients and their relatives are pleased and fascinated by it. One patient even said that he felt like he was at home!”

This artwork transformation project will enable the wards to be a peaceful and inspiring space for patients, improving their experience, quality of life and hospital outcome. The project is expected to be finished in a few months' time, and we’ll update you as it nears completion.

Image artwork: Rebecca Thomson for Thistle Ward (main image); Jessica Hook and Florence Meunier for Tayberry Ward (images above).

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