News story

Health Secretary announces funding for care homes and wards specially designed for people with dementia

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced dedicated funding to create care environments for people with dementia that help reduce anxiety and distress, and help people feel safe.

Up to £50 million will be available to NHS trusts and local authorities, working in partnership with care providers, to help tailor hospitals and care homes to the needs of people with dementia. The care providers involved will need to sign up to the Dementia Care and Support Compact, which commits them to providing first rate care and support for people with dementia and their families.

Research by The King’s Fund demonstrates that good design can help with the management of dementia. People with dementia are calmer and less likely to get lost or become distressed in an environment designed with their needs in mind.

Organisations that bid successfully for money will be able to adapt care homes and hospitals using design principles tested in The King’s Fund pilots. Specially designed rooms and spaces could include features such as:

  • hi-tech sensory rooms using lighting, smells and sound to stimulate people’s senses
  • large photos of local scenes from the past to prompt people’s memories
  • specially adapted outside space to prevent people from wandering, by helping them keep busy and active with activities such as gardening
  • technology such as day/night clocks and controllable mood lighting to emulate day and night, which can help with sleep patterns, orientation and safe movement
  • calming colours, non-reflective surfaces, large-print signs and the creation of zones to help people know where they are and find their way back to their rooms

Every project will involve people with dementia, their families and carers, to make sure the designs meet their needs. The projects will form part of a national pilot to showcase the best examples of dementia friendly care environments. The lessons learnt from the projects will advise local Health and Wellbeing Boards on how to create better environments for dementia care.

The criteria for applying for funding and the deadline for receipt of applications will be announced shortly. The successful projects will begin from April 2013.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“You don’t need to be an expert to know sensitively designed spaces make all of us feel better - so we want people with dementia to be able to benefit from environments that are designed to meet their needs.

“This is just part of meeting the growing challenge of dementia with improvements of every type, including better environments and treatment for those in care.

“Responding with dignity and compassion to dementia is the only sensible response to the urgent challenges we face as our population ages.”

Read the Department’s press notice.

Find out more about the PM’s Dementia Challenge.