Dementia day room to help preserve patient memories
19 May 2017
As part of national Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-21), Southend University Hospital opened its first ever dementia day room.
Walking into the room with its giant images of The Kursaal, its
retro TV cabinet and old-style cooker, it is like stepping into a
time warp of decades gone by with its memory triggering artwork and
There are also rummage boxes featuring memory prompt items
covering everything from food to knitting and musicals to make-up.
The rooms also feature colouring books, massage therapy, DVDs, CDs
and records, old and more up to date, reflecting that dementia can
impact people of any age.
In addition to helping to create the day rooms on Princess Anne
Ward and on Windsor Ward, the appeal has also helped to fund a
projector to show films on the old style theatre screen, a portable
sensory suite to help create a surrounding where patients can feel
more relaxed and at home, bed chair sensors to alert staff to
patients at risk of falling. There are also various reminiscence
tools, such as jigsaws, which you can see to help cognitive
skills. These tools will be used by the hospital's dedicated
dementia befriending service, supported by the Trust's wonderful
Kylie Locke, Matron for Medicine, said: "Being a hospital
patient can be an unsettling experience for anyone, but for the
estimated one in four patients with some formof dementia, the
unfamiliar surroundings and people can be overwhelming.
"The hospital's Dementia Appeal's aim was to ensure these
vulnerable patients are as comfortable and stress-free 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 them a real sanctuary to spend time in."
None of it would have been possible though with the efforts of
some fabulous fundraisers including the Roslin Beach Hotel, who
have renovated the rooms for the Trust.
Jacqui Dallimore, Managing Director from the Roslin Beach Hotel,
said: "These rooms are a testament to the passion and hard work
that have been put into this project. It's not about a room though,
it's about the patients and relatives who will get the very real
benefits of using its fantastic facilities. We all know a relative
or friend impacted by dementia so that was why we wanted to get
Some of the fundraisers who have raised substantial amounts for
the Dementia Appeal were present to see one of the new rooms for
These included Maureen Townley MBE and Linda Ansell MBE, both
from Thorpe Bay, who are stalwart hospital charity supporters and
have been raising money for the hospital for the past 30 years.
This past year that fundraising has all been for the Dementia
Appeal and their pop up stall in the fundraising unit at the
hospital has raised an amazing £17,604 for dementia to date.
"Maureen and Linda said: "It's nice to see it all happen and be
at the opening. The room looks really nice."
Dean Ovel, 41 from Westcliff-on-Sea, spent 24 hours running in
an 8ft tall giant hamster wheel almost a year ago, all the
money raised was for the Dementia Appeal in memory of his nans,
both whom suffered with the disease. Dean's incredible running
total was £8,710.24. Dean also runs with local running club, Leigh
Striders, who kept up the pace raising £3,500.
Dean said: "It's good to see how the money gets put to use and
the real difference that it does make. I was raising money for a
specific purpose so to see the end result is great."
The opening of the rooms is the culmination of the hospital's
Dementia Appeal, which was launched in April 2016. Thanks to the
generous support of local people and businesses nearly £100,000 was
raised to help improve the services Southend University Hospital
provides to its patients suffering from Dementia.