Part of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s ongoing dementia strategy, the Memory Lane is located at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, thanks to funding from Trust charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.
The hospital’s addition has changed the physical environment of a stretch of corridor transforming it into a series of memory triggering scenes. Spanning 72 metres the corridor is the largest in the UK and aims to have a massive impact on the care provided to patients who suffer from dementia or confusion.
What good will it do?
Patients living with dementia often suffer from deliriums which can be very distressing. These can manifest themselves in a number of ways, including an
intense need to be somewhere else or completing a really important task.
The corridor is split in to seven sections each section featuring a printed, enhanced photographic representation completely covering the walls. The experience is added to in each section with smells that are pumped into the corridor and sounds that fit the scene. The aim is to transport the minds of the patients in to each of the environments in order to trigger memories and help calm them down.
The seven sections of the corridor are:
- The park: Featuring park benches, sounds of children playing and even a bus stop.
- Sports arena: featuring different sporting games from history including sounds from the famous 1966 World Cup and commentary of cricket matches.
- The Pleasure Beach: All the fun of the fair. Sounds of the rides and smells of freshly made candyfloss and donuts fill the air to transport patients to the fun fair. Even a light up ‘Mr Funshine’ (the old mascot of the Pleasure Beach) makes an appearance.
- The promenade: The largest section of the corridor has seagulls, smells of fish and chips, benches to sit on, tram stops, working illuminations and a replica of the famous illuminated boat tram. Oh we do like to be beside the seaside.
- The Theatre: Blackpool’s Grand Theatre is recreated along with posters of famous performers.
- The Circus: Blackpool Tower Circus has been instrumental in donating seating from its theatre as well as posters and memorabilia. Who doesn’t love a trip to the circus?
- The workplace: Some people just miss being at work. This section gives patients something to do. They can do some office work, some plumbing or some housework to occupy their minds.
Research by The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) project and the National Dementia Strategy (2012) shows that enhancing the healing environment not only improves patients’ experience whilst in hospital but also reduces length of stay by building trust and rapport within the therapeutic relationship.