Friday, 28 June 2013

Opening the new Dementia Ward at the Royal Hospital Chelsea

Levels of dementia are on the increase, with the Alzheimer's Society predicting that there will be over a million people living with the disease by 2021. Currently, one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia.

Because of the increasing reach of this disease, in 2011 the Royal Hospital Chelsea decided to transform the care package provided to Chelsea Pensioners with dementia. Taking specialist advice, and with the support of generous donors, a pioneering programme of cultural and physical change was implemented into the Campbell Ward in the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary. Today the benefits are very evident.

Not only have the living quarters of the residents been transformed into an altogether more homely environment, but the pensioners themselves have been increasingly involved in helping with the daily domestic tasks which makes them feel much more engaged. Everyone in the ward has their own, personalised front door opening onto "Campbell Street", thereby making it easier to find their way home. There is even a specially designed potting shed in which to occupy themselves. It really is a taste of days gone by, making them feel much more at ease.

As for the staff, morale has been raised through a comprehensive training programme which equips them better to understand and so care for this unique group of people. 

Our dementia ward was officially opened by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, on the 13th June 2013.

From left: Sir Redmond Watt (Governor of the RHC),
Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health), Laura Bale (Matron of the RHC)
and Peter Currie (Lieutenant Governor of the RHC) 

Would you like to support the Chelsea Pensioners? You can make a donation to the Chelsea Pensioners' Appeal here.

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