Dementia services and prison health care environments to be the focus of new improvement projects

Health care environments for people with dementia are set to be improved as part of the next phase of The King's Fund's Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme.

Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley today announced the 12 NHS trusts which will each receive a project grant from the Department of Health for nurse-led teams to put into action their improvement projects.

A range of projects will be carried out, from brightening up and transforming day rooms to make them more dementia-friendly, turning under-used outside spaces into peaceful gardens, to re-designing reception areas, making them more welcoming to people with dementia and their families.

Speaking at an event at The King's Fund to launch the new projects, Dame Christine, said:

'As a member of the original advisory group which supported the beginning of this innovative and exciting programme, I have been delighted to see it grow from strength to strength over the past 10 years. This programme has stimulated organisations to understand the impact of the environment on patients and staff. It has also given many frontline nurses the opportunity to develop their own skills. I am looking forward to the achievements of the next 10 years!'

In addition to the dementia projects, the Chief Nursing Officer announced a further 10 projects to improve health care environments in prisons and young offenders institutions. The projects will be run by health staff working in prisons, with prisoners themselves involved in the planning and design processes and, in some cases, carrying out the work as part of their education and training programmes.

These new projects follow on from a successful pilot project, which concluded two years ago, and a further 20 projects announced in 2009.

Over the past ten years, the EHE team have supported more than 200 projects, and across the board EHE projects have brought many benefits to patients and staff, including improvements in clinical practice. The King's Fund's work in mental health trusts has shown that making the healing environment more pleasant can have a significant effect on how people feel and make a big difference for the people who care for them: violent incidents among patients can be reduced, while stress levels for staff decrease. In the prison environment, where the physical and mental health of offenders can play a critical role in their behaviour, improving health care can have wider positive benefits for the teams involved and the prison population as a whole.

See more from our Enhancing the Healing Environment project

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund media and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2603. If you are calling out-of-hours, please ring 07584 146035. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.
  3. Please see The King’s Fund website for more information and lots of examples of EHE projects.
  4. The 12 trusts participating in the projects to improve the environment for people with dementia: Berkshire East Community Health Services; Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Devon Partnership NHS Trust; Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust; King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust; Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust; Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust; University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
  5. The prisons and young offender institutions participating are: HMP Birmingham; HMP/YOI  Exeter; HMP Gartree Leicestershire; HMP/YOI Hindley; HMP Isle of Wight; HMP Lincoln; HMP Long Lartin; HMP Manchester; HMP/YOI Warren Hill; HMP Wormood Scrubs.
  6. The HMP/YOI will receive a capital project allocation of £20,000 from the Department of Health towards their scheme and PCT/Partnership Boards are being asked to contribute a minimum of £15,000 capital funding towards the project as a condition of participation in the programme.
  7. The NHS trusts will receive £40,000 from the Department of Health. Each trust will supplement this amount by at least £15,000.