Merging the two services of Grundy and Pinfold Lane was a great opportunity for us to create something that had our customers and future customers at the heart of the design; an opportunity to rebrand the service and make it attractive to a wider group of people.
We are no longer referring to the service as “day care”, we will now be calling the service “Get Social” and the building in which this service is provided will be referred to as Grundy Hub. Within is our Pinfold Suite which has been designed to be secure and safe for our customers who used to attend Pinfold Lane.
The people who attended Pinfold Lane Day Centre had never had a building specifically designed for people living with dementia, however the Pinfold Lane building lent itself very well to this, with the openness of the space and the secure environment that it could provide. What is now the Pinfold Suite used to be a space for head office staff, pre pandemic, so this had been designed and furnished as offices. Big changes were needed to make it appropriate to support our Pinfold Lane Day Centre customers, who are living with dementia.
We completed research and attended webinars that covered topics in relation to building design to support people living with dementia. Adding this to the existing knowledge of the team we were able to create an environment which is safe and suitable for people living with dementia.
Themes, colours and flooring
The first step was to decide the themes, colours and flooring and bring the design together. Flooring came with its challenges as it is really important to keep one flooring throughout, without any changes over doorways or into different rooms. The flooring that was initially chosen and laid was designed specifically for use in environments that support people living with dementia, however once it was in place it looked very clinical, which was not the look we intended for the service. Therefore, we decided to change this for something that felt more homely. It was still important to consider the need for the flooring to be non-reflective, light in colour, not overly patterned and all the considerations that had been made originally. We chose a light wood grain effect vinyl which provides a homely feel but without causing confusion under foot. This flooring is very similar to what was already at Pinfold Lane and had not caused any problems, so we were comfortable that this was the right step.
Furniture and décor
The furniture was transferred from Pinfold Lane, along with Norman the goldfish, to offer familiarity for our customers and try and prevent too much change. With this in mind, the paint colours were chosen to complement the furniture and offer a pop of colour in each room which would identify to customers where they had been if they wanted to return to that same room. Each room has a feature wall and pictures hung around the room in the same colours, again this gives a more homely feel in addition to offering practicality.
Lights in all rooms have been replaced from bright tube lights to dimmable round lights. This gives us opportunity to adjust lighting in a way that is suitable to support anyone who may be experiencing sundowning, in addition to offering relaxing spaces, and the ability to brighten the lights for anyone struggling with their vision.
The window blinds are perfect fit venetian blinds, which prevent any free material from causing a hazard and also removes the need for strings or beads which could either entangle someone or be easily broken through excessive use. Each individual pane of glass has its own blind attached, giving extensive flexibility to how much light can be let in and can also block the sun from shining into people’s eyes without having to close off a whole window frame.
Contrasting toilet seats and grab rails were fitted to make using the bathrooms an easier experience and provide an additional level of safety. Clearly visible toilet door signs with both picture and words have been used to identify the bathrooms.
The handrails around the corridors have been painted in a contrasting colour to the wall so that they are easily seen and stand out as handrails. Skirting boards have also been painted to ensure that they are different to the flooring and don’t blend in. Also in the corridors, an interactive flower wall has been created to give the illusion of a window with a flower window box and vases. The intention behind this is that people can rearrange the flowers, keep busy and find a meaningful activity when walking with purpose.
Entrances and exits
To reduce anxiety and distress in relation to exit doors, we have disguised the door that leads to the Grundy Hub as much as possible by removing the large steel handle and replacing it with a small wooden doorknob above head height rather than at elbow height. We have removed the steel kick plates and painted the door the same colour as the walls and also added a window frosting to the existing windows in the door. This window can’t be removed as it opens into the Pinfold Suite and it is needed to ensure that the door is not opened into anyone standing on the other side of it. A blind has been fitted over the door that leads to the garden space, so that when the weather is not suitable for customers to go outside without staff support and appropriate winter clothing, we can pull the blind down and distract from the fact that it is an exit route. In brighter, drier weather this will not be used, and customers will be encouraged to go out as they please, into the safe and secure outdoor area.
The garden is still under refurbishment with the intended completion being spring 2022. Currently it has been levelled out and laid with tarmac to prevent the weeds coming back through and it has two padlocked gates to keep it secure. There are many elements to the redesign of the garden space with the entrance way intended to look like a traditional English garden, with flowerpots, hanging baskets, a bistro set and benches. There is an area being developed with a beach theme, complete with a beach hut, deck chairs and a sand area. In the middle of the garden there will be a large tree to offer shade, with benching round the trunk to give an ‘in the park’ feel. Vegetable and fruit planters are being built at two levels, to ensure that all who wish to join in with the fruit and vegetable planting are able to. These features create a range of experiences and sensory stimulation. The garden has also been designed with plenty of shaded and seating areas to offer protection and comfort from the sun. All its plants will be chosen with great care, ensuring they are nontoxic and that they offer a variety of scents and colour.
Cick for our garden update.
Head of Operations, Older People Services
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