The KGH Forget-Me-Not Appeal will aim to raise about £200,000 to transform a run-down courtyard adjacent to the Lamport and Twywell wards into a dementia-friendly garden where patients can be safely active.
The idea is being developed by capital programmes operational delivery manager Jayne Chambers, director of nursing and quality Leanne Hackshall and admiral dementia clinical lead Tracey Lynch.
Jayne said: “One of the ways that dementia presents in patients is that they can become restless and need to be actively engaged, walking around and investigating their environment.
“We want to create a new kind of dementia-friendly environment in the courtyard next to our older adult wards.
“We will do this by turning the courtyard into a garden area with flowers, activity stations and a seaside theme so that it is a safe and stimulating place for dementia patients – and their families – to spend time while they are in hospital.”
In the long term KGH also aims to transform Lamport and Twywell wards themselves into a purpose-built dementia unit.
The wards are currently wards for the care of older people, which includes some dementia patients.
A dementia unit with an adjoining garden would be a first in Northamptonshire and one of only a few in Britain in an acute hospital setting.
Jayne added: “We want to start by developing the dementia garden area.
“This area will help us to promote continued independence and keep patients active so they don’t become deconditioned and dependent while recovering from ill health.
“It will also provide a quiet and relaxing place where patients can be safely monitored and kept busy.”
Admiral nurse Tracey Lynch said: “We want our garden to have stimulating colours, textures, sounds and pictures, and activities that help to keep patients busy and relaxed.
“We also hope the seaside theme will stimulate conversations and unlock some happy memories.”
Director of nursing and quality Leanne Hackshall said: “This new initiative is another aspect of our suite of developments designed to improve the care of our elderly patients that were initially launched in 2014 under the AGE (Academy for Geratology Excellence) programme.
“This programme is developing new approaches to the care of older people that are sensitive and exemplary.
“Dementia is a medical condition associated with age and in Northamptonshire the number of people getting older is increasing year on year.
“As a local community this is an opportunity for us to all work together and create a facility that we are proud of and that will support the many families who are affected by dementia.
“Our dedicated staff working in this area will also benefit from the developments enabling them to better deliver the care they would wish to give.”
KGH wants to run the appeal in close collaboration with the local community and is encouraging local firms and individuals to get involved.
The hospital is especially looking for assistance in garden design and associated building work.
They are hoping local people will organise fundraising events for the KGH Forget-Me-Not Appeal and are hoping for donations of garden associated equipment such as plants, pagodas, table and chairs, a shed, gardening equipment, and ornaments with a seaside theme.
To help, contact Jayne Chambers at [email protected].
Donations can be made to the Kettering General Hospital Charity Fund (Forget-Me-Not Appeal).