New dementia unit welcomes first patients
A newly refurbished dementia intensive care unit has opened its doors in Worthing after four years in the planning, specifically designed with the needs of people living with dementia and their families and carers in mind.
The Forget Me Not Unit will be run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health, learning disability and dementia services across Sussex and Hampshire, and is situated on the Swandean Hospital site in Worthing.
The new unit replaces the Trust’s existing dementia wards in West Sussex, which had become unsuitable for the people that they served. The Unit was formally opened by Sam Allen, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Executive and welcomed its first patients on Monday 1 March.
Sam Allen said: “This is a really important moment for the people of West Sussex who rely on our specialist services.
This work has been guided by the care and compassion, vision and determination of our staff to provide care for them in an NHS inpatient setting.
It’s a huge honour to open this unit and celebrate the work of our Specialist Older Adult Mental Health Services team, project managers and estates and facilities staff to bring this unit to fruition."
The Forget Me Not Unit is part of a major investment in dementia services in West Sussex, and designed specifically for people with dementia to meet their clinical needs. It will eventually form part of a centre of excellence for dementia which is incorporated into plans to improve mental health services across West Sussex as a whole. These plans were formally approved last month and details can be found here.
Fiona Newman, Clinical Lead and Lead Nurse for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health Services at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"There is a significant body of evidence which demonstrates the importance of environmental design to help support and maintain the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Dementia friendly design is about being aware of key principles and established good practice so that the care environment doesn’t lead to additional confusion or distress."
The Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester was commissioned by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to assist in developing a core set of dementia friendly design principles to support the refurbishment of the unit.