Towards a specialist geriatric ward for University Hospital Waterford

Medical Ward 5 has traditionally been considered the “geriatric ward” in UHW. Recent audits of environmental and staffing suitability for the management of older adults indicate the ward to be suboptimally suited. This is a problem shared by many similar wards nationally.

The National Clinical Programme for Older People (2012) and the National Dementia strategy (2015) both prioritise the provision of optimised environmental conditions for older adults with confusion. There is evidence that such ward modification when combined with staff training, dementia-specific care pathways and patient activities & cueing can improve outcomes for patients with dementia and their families.

It is for these reasons that the Medical Ward 5 Focus Group are currently actively working to improve both the environment and activities within the ward.

Project Updates

Formal project proposal submitted to directorate

February 20, 2017

The Medical 5 Focus Group have now submitted a proposal for ward environmental optimisation to the Medical Directorate. This was the culmination of a long process of planning with external advice also. We look forward to hearing the outcome of this proposal.

Artist in Residence

February 06, 2017

WHAT Artist in residence, Caroline Schofield, spent 2016 working with dementia patients on ward Medical 5. Caroline describes her process of engagement: ‘I am in interested in materials and how they help us to connect with each other. For example, a ball of string helped me to start a conversation with a patient in Medical 5 about his life as a grocer. Paper flowers triggered another conversation with a woman about her garden full of flowers."

Her residency ended unfortunately in December 2016 but not before she left an enduring positive mark on the ward.

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