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Vintage shop fronts on wards
30 January 2017

Vintage shop and newspapers with Ipswich Hospital staffOlder patients at our hospital are being given extra help to reminisce thanks to two old-fashioned mock up shop fronts which have opened on the wards.

The grocers shops include old-style packages for family favourites, such as teabags, tapioca, cocoa and broken biscuits, all from days gone by. The items have been donated by the Co-Op, and are used to trigger memories and conversations in older patients with dementia, in turn helping them to feel safer and more comfortable during their hospital stay.

The first shop opened on the Constable Suite – the hospital’s complex care unit – a few years ago. It proved so successful that a second has recently been added in a day room shared by the Woodbridge and Washbrook wards, both of which have been recently refurbished to make them dementia-friendly.

Julie Sadler, senior nurse for dementia care, said: “We are really pleased with our shop fronts and very grateful to the Co-Op for lending us such a wide variety of traditional and familiar packaging. We have also received some fantastic donations from colleagues, including a Goblin Teasmade from the 1960s complete in its original packing.

“The displays are really helping provoke memories so that people can find common ground, trigger conversations and make their hospital stays more interesting.

“Coming into hospital can be unsettling for people with dementia, which is why we try and find simple yet innovative ways to help them feel as safe and as comfortable as we can. The shop fronts are doing just that by providing something familiar which they can chat to their relatives or our staff about.

“The memories shared by these patients can also help us to understand the person and look beyond their diagnosis.”

Both Washbrook and Woodbridge wards were refurbished to dementia-friendly standards in the autumn with money from a £1.5m legacy  left to the hospital by former patient Peter Gibbons.

As part of the project, social areas and calming artwork was added, lighting was improved, bed areas were decluttered and pictorial signs and colour-coded walls were introduced to help patients find their way.