Aged Care

Prince Charles Hospital unveils ‘village’ for dementia patients

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The Prince Charles Hospital, with the support of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, through its initiative, The Common Good, has unveiled ‘Charlie’s Village’ – a village-like community area within the specialist dementia care unit where patients with dementia and other cognitive impairments are cared for.

The revamp was thoughtfully designed in collaboration with frontline clinicians and geriatricians to create environments for patients in the ward to visit, helping them feel confident and connected and allowing them to maintain some independence and mobility. This incredible transformation of the unit’s outdoor area into a village-like space includes custombuilt familiar facades such as a hair salon, bakery and café, general store, hotel, and post office.

Research shows that environment can trigger behavioural changes in patients with dementia, so this addition will also assist staff in managing those behaviours as it allows for positive diversion.

Related: Maintaining social connections for our elders living with dementia

“I think Charlie’s Village will help people feel more settled. They’ll feel like they’re at the shops or at the café rather than in that acute hospital setting. It will give them something to  engage with cognitively, and as the familiar scenes may jog some people’s memories and  elicit feelings of nostalgia, they may have conversations about life outside of hospital and
what they used to do,” said Khera Kim, Nurse Practitioner Delirium and Dementia Service, The Prince Charles Hospital.

“Bringing patients into an environment that’s more homely or looks like a normal community can help people feel better about themselves, and their quality of life can improve,” said Khera.

The average stay of patients within this ward, known as the Cognitive Assessment and Management (CAM) Unit, is 29 days. Patients often have tea and coffee with their friends and family within this outdoor space, so this rejuvenation makes it an even more inviting space where loved ones can spend time together.

This incredibly meaningful upgrade to The Prince Charles Hospital’s CAM Unit, was proposed as part of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation’s 2022 Giving Day.

“This is a prime example of the significant and positive impacts that can be achieved when people come together to help others live healthier for longer. We are so excited that this space is now a reality for patients and their families and are proud to facilitate a project on behalf of the community that will help so many people for years to come,” said Steve Francia, CEO of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation.

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