Care Minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb gave the thumbs up to a new Dementia Care Unit when he visited St Nicholas House in Dereham, South Norfolk last week.
The new 6 room unit at NorseCare’s residential care home in Dereham, Norfolk has been developed to provide significant benefits to people living with dementia who are ready to move from hospital, but are unable to return home. The location enables the home to provide a service to the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital in Norwich and the Queen Elizabeth hospital in King’s Lynn.
Funding for the new unit came from a successful bid from the Dementia Friendly Environment (DFE) Fund. The fund aims to improve the social environment and safety in dementia homes and day centres across the country by making sure they meet the needs of people with dementia. The development of the bid to the Department of Health was supported by Norfolk’s largest community-based NHS service provider, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) and Norfolk County Council (NCC).
Some of the features of the unit include:
- a straightforward layout together with colour schemes that follow best practice guidelines,
- communal spaces designed on a domestic scale, with a kitchen and lounge/dining area, allowing residents to regain and maintain as many life skills as possible,
- assistive technology, maximising independence, allowing residents to rehabilitate on their journey back to independent living,
- a guest room to facilitate greater involvement of families,
- the opportunity for staff to deepen their understanding of dementia care and receive specific training including the development of hands-on skills supporting residents in activities of daily life
- a wheelchair-friendly garden with raised flower beds and a sheltered sitting area has also been designed ensuring the safety of residents and enabling participation and enjoyment.
The unit has also facilitated NorseCare’s engagement with the local community including the Admiral Nurses and a local community cafe. It is hoped that a dementia cafe will be set up at St Nicholas House where the local community can learn more about dementia.
Karen Knight, Managing Director at NorseCare welcomed the opening of the new unit: “We’re delighted that Norman has been able to see for himself how money from the DFE fund has created a unit that will ease some of the pressure on our over-stretched hospitals. We’re very keen to work together with partners to create environments for older people with dementia and to reduce unnecessary costs to the health and social care system.”