The Kings Fund Trust is an independent charity that works to improve health care in England, they undertake research and analysis in order to support and develop teams and organisations all contributing to improving the health care system. Some of their projects work directly with hospitals around England to help them develop and restore their current facilities. When undertaking regeneration projects they don’t just ‘chuck’ designers into a project, they involve and work directly with the nurses upon the ward who have thorough understanding of what the patients requirements and needs are. The trust helps to train and educate the nurses on processes of design that could help the patients. This company is of great interest to me as I believe their way of working has the potential to make further permanent changes amongst the system; educating during the design process will have a lasting effect that nurses can reflect back on. A project I looked into was one carried out among the Dementia Ward at the Alderney Hospital in Dorchester. Dementia is an illness that unfortunately is gradually effecting more and more people. People suffering from dementia get effected by overwhelming colour changes and patterning. Before Kings Fund went to the hospital, the ward had a very high fall rate amongst the patients. Kings Fund acknowledged that it was the pattern on the flooring tiles causing this disorientation. Patients suffering from dementia visually see lighter tones of the pattern as raised areas which causes cognitive exhaustion when manipulating the pattern. Once the hospital removed flooring patterns and replaced it with natural wood that was not light reflective avoiding the creation of pools of light, their were immediate decline effects on the falls of patients. They also created a colour coding application around the hospital to help the patients become more independent and manipulate the ward themselves. They applied primary colours to door rims, toilet seats, and hand rails which stood out from the rest of the pale cream walls and meant patients could identify between different rooms. The Bright red handrails were of the most interest to me as they reached for the colours automatically balancing themselves before becoming consciously aware of it. The ward felt that all of these attributes helped to prepare the patient for life on their own outside the ward.
I thought it was really motivational how design had such great effects on the patients and allowed for such changes. This makes you think how can we take some of these ideas and contribute them into everyday life. Create an environment that is inclusive for all, allow people suffering with the illness to continue their life as long as possible with lower difficulties. Maybe it’s something public spaces need to think about more especially with the rises in percentages of suffers. Colour sensory design can create great effects on illnesses and well being.