NHS hospitals get 'vintage makeover' to help dementia patients, including 1950s tearooms and seaside beach huts

Harriet Brewis
The vintage Butterfly tea room at Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire: PA

NHS hospitals have undergone a vintage makeover to help dementia patients cope with stress and anxiety.

Old photographs and cinema films, ration books and a replica 1950s television have been used to transform wards across the country into reassuringly familiar settings.

NHS England believes the "dementia-friendly adaptations" could help patients who struggle to adjust to their surroundings.

This could help lessen the likelihood of falls and reduce patients’ reliance on medicine.

London's Royal Free Hospital has decorated its dementia wards, corridors and day rooms in a vintage seaside theme (PA)

Tearooms, beach huts, a “memories pub” and a cinema booth where patients can watch old films are among the features which make up the new dementia ward decor.

Patients at West Yorkshire's Airedale Hospital can use a "butterfly tea room", along with a red telephone box and other vintage memorabilia.

Cinema booth at the Hull Royal Infirmary, where patients can watch footage of old street scenes and sporting events from the 1950s and 1960s (PA)

It is hoped these items from bygone eras may help trigger patients’ memories.

Airedale senior ward sister Katie Widdop said: "What we've found is that if patients are engaged in meaningful activity and given mental stimulation in hospital, then not only may they sleep better, but they can be less agitated, are less likely to get up in the night and less likely to fall.”

Royal Preston Hospital's 1940s style reminiscence room, featuring pictures of ration books and old photographs (PA)

There are now 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and the numbers are continuing to rise, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

"Hospital can be a frightening place for many people but can prove a bigger challenge for people with dementia who might feel more confused and agitated in an unfamiliar environment,” said Alistair Burns, clinical director for dementia for NHS England and NHS Improvement.

"Having a dementia-friendly place to stay may help these patients adjust better to their surroundings, lessen the likelihood of falls and reduce their reliance on medicine."

A 'memories pub' complete with replica beer taps and vintage posters at Wirrals Arrowe Park hospital (PA)

Dementia-friendly makeovers include

London's Royal Free Hospital: Dementia wards, corridors and day rooms kitted out in a vintage seaside theme with beach huts signposting patient bays and a retro boardwalk mural.

Royal Preston Hospital: A 1940s-style “reminiscence room” featuring pictures of ration books and old photographs.

Hull Royal Infirmary: A cinema booth where parients can watch Yorkshire Film Archive footage of old street scenes and sporting events from the 1950s and 1960s.

Grantham Hospital's Manthorpe Centre: A 1950s-themed “memory room” where patients can relax among period furniture, artwork and a replica 1950s television.

Wirral's Arrowe Park hospital: A "memories pub" complete with replica beer taps and vintage posters.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate: A day room, where patients can do a jigsaw or listen to the hospital choir sing music from the 1940s and 50s, with a retro television cabinet and vintage-style furniture.