STRUCTURE: Building work will begin this month on a £2.6m redevelopment of the dementia assessment unit at Carlisle’s Carleton Clinic, the foundation trust has announced.

It said in a statement that the redeveloped Ruskin Unit would provide 15 en-suite bedrooms “in a calm, safe environment which will be innovatively designed to help people with dementia”.

Cumbria Partnership nurse consultant in old-age psychiatry Valerie Provan said the improvements would reduce lengths of stay, complex behaviour associated with dementia, and the need for medication.

The new unit would create a “welcoming environment aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental ill health,” the statement continued. “There will be specific dementia features incorporated, including individual ‘memory boxes’ in which patients can put important sentimental items – such as wedding photographs, small soft toys, pictures of grandchildren and so on. This helps people with dementia to orientate themselves to their surroundings, feel safer and encourages memories.

“Colours and themes will also be used to distinguish rooms. The Unit will offer a range of walks/ways for patients to use with no dead ends in corridors to reduce confusion.”

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