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Memories from the 1950s flood back for elderly patients at NNUH

PUBLISHED: 12:11 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 20 June 2018

Patient Rita Mallett, centre, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod, right, and volunteer co-ordinator, Lee Shiers, in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Patient Rita Mallett, centre, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod, right, and volunteer co-ordinator, Lee Shiers, in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Hospitals are generally associated with cold, blank spaces fit with fluorescent lighting and the sound of life-monitoring equipment.

Patient Ena Mattless who has used the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, pictured with Louise Hunt, ward manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatient Ena Mattless who has used the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, pictured with Louise Hunt, ward manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has now introduced a more comfortable environment for elderly patients, including those with dementia.

A memory room has been introduced to the Kimberley ward at the NNUH to help patients feel more comfortable and occupied, as well as sociable during their stay.

Medical staff say it helps to reduce anxiety and calm the patients who are on the ward.

The memory room is wallpapered in a yellow geometric print and fitted with 1950s ornaments, books and arts and crafts.

Patient Rita Mallett, right, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod over knitting patterns in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatient Rita Mallett, right, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod over knitting patterns in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Patients from the ward, which is for older people’s medicine, can visit the reminiscence room for a quiet moment or for a spot of creative activities.

Rita Mallett, 86, has been in hospital for two weeks and described the memory room as “very friendly”.

She said: “It is a small room so we are all close, people come from very different backgrounds.

“We made pom poms in arts and craft.”

Patient Rita Mallett, centre, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod, right, and volunteer co-ordinator, Lee Shiers, in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatient Rita Mallett, centre, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod, right, and volunteer co-ordinator, Lee Shiers, in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ena Mattless has been in-and-out of hospital for a month after dislocating her shoulder. “It was a terrific pain,” she added “I feel like I am being pampered here though.”

The 92-year-old relies on her nieces and nephews to visit her in hospital, and she said: “I don’t know what I would do without them.”

The memory room was funded by the hospital charity and cost £15,000 to create.

Lee Shiers, volunteer coordinator for older people’s medicine, hosts structured activities in the memory room and helps the patients to video call their families, play bingo, eat at a table rather than in bed, and to get them dressed.

Patient Rita Mallett, right, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod over knitting patterns in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatient Rita Mallett, right, chats with volunteer Pat Garrod over knitting patterns in the new 1950s style day room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 37-year-old said: “This room helps some people who have dementia, it really generates conversations in the ward.”

Hannah Absalon, ward matron, agreed said the memory room also offers privacy for patients to be with their families.

She said: “That colour makes you feel warm and families visit their relatives in there.”

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital plans to introduce more of these private rooms, including one on its cancer ward.

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