A NEW sensory garden for dementia patients at Worcestershire Royal Hospital has officially opened.

The garden was opened on Tuesday (September 12) by Antiques Roadshow expert, Henry Sandon following a welcome by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Michelle McKay and chief nursing officer Vicky Morris.

Mr Sandon, whose late wife lived with dementia, said: "This beautiful garden will bring delight to many patients, families and staff.

"I myself have visited patients on Avon 4 and I know how much joy it will bring to be able to leave the ward and have such a wonderful environment to come to.

"Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in making this a reality."

The new dementia-friendly garden occupies a formerly disused courtyard space outside the Avon 4 ward in Aconbury West.

It provides a safe and engaging area for patients with dementia and their families and carers to have some much-needed respite.

The dementia garden was the idea of the Trust’s dementia team and Avon 4 staff and was funded and built by the Trust’s PFI facilities partner Engie with the support of contractors AP Carpentry, Lloyds contractors, and IRS.

Katie Allen, who proposed the idea as a student nurse after researching horticultural therapy and dementia as part of her course at the University of Worcester, said how amazing it was to see the garden fully completed.

Miss Allen added: "We've had patients sit in the garden with their families already and to see the impact it has had on them is fantastic.

"It is really beneficial for patients, relatives and staff and it is somewhere everyone can go for a bit of peace and quiet."

Vicky Morris, chief nursing officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Hospital settings can be confusing, overwhelming or destabilising for those with dementia, especially if they have other illnesses or have had an accident.

"The experience may have a profound effect on the dementia inpatient’s on-going health.

"Treatment of dementia calls for a different, more person-centred healthcare regime.

"This new garden is one way that we are working to develop a dementia-friendly environment.

"It will provide a safe, calm and relaxing space for patients and their families and carers to enjoy."

Donna Kruckow, lead nurse for dementia and older people, said: "This space is going to provide a quiet place for patients, families, carers and other visitors.

It is very important that when we look after our patients we take care of their holistic needs as well as their physical needs.

"The garden is going to make a huge difference to our patients," she added.