The UK’s largest Memory Lane corridor, which will help people with dementia, is set to be created at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The 72-metre long corridor will be taken up with life-size images printed directly onto the walls of familiar scenes around Blackpool.
Dementia patients will be encouraged to visit the corridor and stroll down memory lane. As well as calming the patients, it’s thought the improved healing environment could help reduce their length of stay in hospital.
Samantha Woodhouse, practice development sister and a member of the Dementia Advisory Board at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patients living with dementia often suffer from deliriums which can be very distressing. These can manifest themselves in a number of ways, including an intense need to be somewhere else because they have a really important task they must complete.
“This task could be picking up their child from school or finishing off some work at their job or something really important that they simply must get out and do.
“Research shows that trying to pacify them on the ward is not very effective and can cause agitation and stress to the patient resulting in a decline in health.
“Instead of trying to calm them with words or a cup of tea, which doesn’t solve their problem or provide a satisfactory outcome to their delirium, the new corridor will allow us to take them off the wards and enhance their patient experience with a stroll down memory lane using a number of different clinical techniques resulting in a positive outcome for the patient.”
The corridor has been granted £30,000 funding from the hospital’s charity, Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.
It will feature Stanley Park’s Italian gardens and lake, the Promenade – complete with sounds created in partnership with the Museum of Liverpool – and Blackpool Tower Circus, including renovated seats dating back to 1894.
According to the Trust, two thirds of all patients admitted to hospital on the Fylde coast are elderly, and 65 per cent of those are living with dementia or some sort of cognitive impairment affecting the way they interpret or understand the world around them.
Samantha added: “We have designed the Memory Lane specifically to spark conversations with our patients, which will create a bond of trust between the patient and the members of staff, allowing them to refocus the patient by shifting the conversation to something more pleasant, such as a fun day they had walking through Stanley Park or along the Promenade.
“By accompanying patients off the wards into a safe and engaging environment, we will be able to deliver a fantastic new level of care by delivering positive experiences which they can enjoy.
“Our aim, by using the new Memory Lane, is to reduce the length of time the patient is in hospital which is enormously beneficial to their long term health and wellbeing. Without funding we would not have been able to do this project as comprehensively and so we’d like to say a huge thank you to Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.”
The corridor has been developed using research by The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment project.
Blue Skies head of fund-raising, Kathy Ancell, said: “We are always looking at ways to support the enhancement of care for our patients and this project is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. The new Memory Lane project is a fantastic addition to the wider focus on dementia within the Trust and one we are very happy to be able to support.”