FRESH ideas about stimulation have been used to inspire changes to a Salisbury hospital ward in order to help people with dementia.

The major alterations to Redlynch ward are part of a wider programme of improvements that follows the award last year of £800,000 by the Department of Health, to which the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has added £250,000.

The changes to Redlynch ward include the use of new colour, lighting and furnishings to generate a calming atmosphere. The trust has also sought to trigger patients’ memories by using memorabilia and creating a nostalgia wall. Sound proofing has been employed to reduce anxiety, while bathrooms have also been adapted.

Tracey Nutter, the trust’s director of nursing, said the changes were necessary as more people were living long enough to develop dementia and would be admitted with health problems like anyone else.

She said: “Our general wards are 21 years old now and in that time we’ve learned so much about how to use interior design to support patient care.” She said the hospital staff had used new ideas over the years to provide additional support for people with dementia, but the general wards could be improved to provide calmer and more sensitive surroundings.