QEQM has a new vintage day room to help people living with dementia

Opening of the St Augustine’s day room

East Kent Hospitals has unveiled a new day room for people living with dementia at QEQM.

The St Augustine’s day room, located off the ward, features décor inspired with vintage designs and is kitted out with equipment to aid patients’ memories and make them feel more comfortable at the hospital.

Joy Marshall, Matron for Dementia, said: “Being a hospital patient can be an unsettling experience for anyone, but for patients with some form of dementia, the unfamiliar surroundings and unknown people can be overwhelming.

“The hospital’s dementia appeal is aimed at ensuring vulnerable patients are as comfortable and in a less distressing environment as they can possibly be while they are in our care.

“These amazing new therapeutic and interactive day rooms play a big and important part of that as it gives patients a real sanctuary to spend time in.”

The room was officially opened on Wednesday, May  3, by BBC Radio Kent presenter Erika North, who has a personal connection to the appeal as her mother was treated by the St Augustine’s team.

Vicky Adley, fundraising officer, said: “The hospitals‘ Dementia Appeal, which funds multiple projects to help support patients with dementia, has meant the room has been transformed.

“One in 10 people over the age of 65 have dementia so the effects of this disease are far reaching.

“This area is dedicated to caring for patients with dementia and hopefully we can offer them something special to improve their quality of life.”

The room is decorated with themed wallpaper, a retro television cabinet and old-style furniture and electrical items.

It also includes RITA or Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities.  This valuable tool is a pre-loaded system that can be used by patients themselves or with a nurse, therapist or carer to engage in a wide range of activities. These include listening to relaxing music, showing photos, interactive games and even replaying famous speeches the patient may connect with.

In addition, the room contains ’reminiscence tools’, such as jigsaws, which will be used by the hospital’s dedicated dementia befriending service, supported by volunteers.

The team are recreating the room at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital and at William Harvey Hospital.

Fundraisers included NatWest, the League of Friends and individuals such as Gemma McNutt (HCA for Deal Ward) and Sharon Campbell (Ward Manager for Deal Ward) who both completed a nerve-racking 100ft abseil descent and raised hundreds of pounds for the appeal.