Press release: Hospital develops innovative dementia-friendly x-ray room

Dementia-friendly x-rayStaff at University Hospital Southampton have created an innovative dementia-friendly x-ray room complete with woodland imagery, blue sky tiles and music tailored to each patient.

The development is the brainchild of Andrea Boycott, superintendent radiographer for the emergency department and theatres, supported by her colleague Ines Roca.

In partnership with dementia specialist nurses, they identified what changes should be implemented to provide ‘calm’ surroundings for patients with dementia, learning disabilities and confusion.

This resulted in the use of bright colours to highlight areas of focus for patients, such as a green control panel so patients can see where the radiographer has gone and where the exit door is located.

Ceiling tiles with clouds, a rainbow and blue sky were selected alongside a picturesque woodland mural to make the space appear less clinical and help reduce anxiety, along with beige, matte and plain flooring which is less likely to distort vision.

The room is also fitted with distinct grey skirting which distinguishes between the floor and the wall and the introduction of dimmer switches means light levels can be adjusted to patients’ preferences.

The team also keep a store of knitted fabric tubes known as ‘twiddle muffs’ to help keep dementia patients’ hands warm and active during imaging and allow them to select their own music prior to their x-rays.

“Prior to our development it was very difficult to find any literature on similar projects, so we enlisted the help of the dementia specialist admiral nurses in Southampton to develop the concept with us,” said Ines, acting superintendent radiographer at UHS.

“This new environment immediately helped us to calm patients with dementia, as well as those with learning disabilities and acute confusion, and has ultimately enabled us to provide a much better standard of care to these patients.”

She added: “Feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive and we have since made information available to organisations across the NHS on creating similar dementia-friendly rooms, so we are pleased to have played a part in starting such a beneficial trend.”

Posted on Friday 26 July 2019