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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Extra cash will help make-over Cumbrian care homes

Care homes across Cumbria are to get a £250,000 makeover to improve standards of living for dementia patients.

Beth Furneaux photo
Beth Furneaux

The cash, from the Department of Health, will be spent on refurbishment after studies showed different wall colours and plain carpets could reduce stress and anxiety in people suffering from dementia.

It came following a bid from county and health chiefs to the government as part of a £50m funding pot.

The five schemes – in Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven, Windermere and Ambleside – are five of more than 100 nationally chosen to showcase the best examples of ‘dementia friendly’ environments in England.

As well as changes to communal areas indoors, tenants in each scheme will get a newly designed garden area.

A further £175,100 was secured to upgrade 11 of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s wards and hospitals in order to make them more dementia friendly environments.

Chief executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Claire Molloy, said evidence had shown “the right colours and signs” had been shown to have a big impact on reducing confusion association with dementia.

“The investment also means that specialist staff will be able to work closer with the person with dementia and their families,” she said. “They will also be able to demonstrate the use of a range of equipment and techniques to help improve the patient’s well-being and maintain a quality of life.”

Beth Furneaux, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for adult and local services, said the money was a “fantastic opportunity” which would be of “huge benefit” to people living with dementia.

There are an estimated 7,600 people suffering with dementia in Cumbria – but only around 4,000 have been diagnosed.

“It will put Cumbria at the head of dementia-friendly environments and follow on from some of our Cumbria Care residential care homes that have the gold standard for dementia care,” she added.

The cash will fund a £35,000 sensory garden in Burnside Court, Carlisle, a £40,000 redecoration of Lonsdale Court in Penrith and a £42,000 sensory garden at Monkwray Court in Whitehaven. It will also help redecorate Birthwaite, in Windermere, and plant a sensory garden at Rowan Court in Ambleside.

The scheme is part of a national pilot building evidence about the type of physical changes that have the most benefit for people living with dementia.

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