College students help redesign a dementia ward during work placement

WARRINGTON & Vale Royal College’s Level 3 Health & Social Care students recently took part in a virtual work placement to ‘Redesign a ward for people living with dementia.’

This project, set by Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with The Cheshire & Warrington Pledge, provided the students with a valuable industry insight and allowed them to take part in essential work experience.

The college students were asked to come up with innovate dementia-friendly ideas to transform a hospital ward and make it more suitable for patients living with dementia and their families. The student used Warrington Hospital’s ‘Forget Me Not’ Ward- a pioneering ward providing specialist care for people living with dementia- for inspiration. The only one of its kind in the North West, the ‘Forget Me Not’ Ward contains unique design features such as a mock bus stop, traditional fireplace and relaxing quiet room.
The students spent a week working in groups and meticulously planning their projects before presenting their ideas back to representatives from the NHS and The Cheshire & Warrington Pledge. As part of the project, the students were also required to work to a budget and come up with fundraising activities to support the development of the ward. Health & Social Care Tutor Jack Davies, who led the project in college, felt the experience was very worthwhile and provided the students with valuable skills. Jack said “The learners have developed key skills such as communication, time management and teamwork that will be able to be directly transferred into the workplace.”

The ten groups of students presented back via video call to a panel of industry professionals: Fiona Exley, Health & Social Care Catalyst at The Cheshire & Warrington Pledge; Sandra McCann, Apprenticeship Lead Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust; Deborah Hammond, Matron for Integrated Medicine & Community CBU Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Katie Nixon, Ward Manager of the Forget Me Not Unit.
Tutor Jack said: “Everyone who took part put in a brilliant effort and I’m so proud of every learner. The presentations were professional and as stated by the judges were of a quality suitable for practice- the ideas could be used immediately.”

Fiona Exley commented: “All ten groups worked really hard on their presentations and some of the ideas they came up with were fantastic.” Fiona particularly enjoyed the students’ suggestions of a ward garden, ‘blast from the past’ charity ball and memory boxes for each patient.
The winners of the challenge were group nine, who impressed the judges with their “professional floorplan” and “lovely consideration for family members.” The judges described the presentation as “absolutely fabulous!”
Lisa Murrell, Employment Engagement Officer at Warrington & Vale Royal College, helped to coordinate the work experience and said, “This has been a fantastic experience and opportunity for the Level 3 Health and Social Care learners, they have had a wonderful insight into the NHS. I would like to thank all the practitioners and professionals who have volunteered their time and expertise to help organise and support the event.” Warrington & Vale Royal College are extremely proud of their hardworking Health & Social Care students and are very grateful to the NHS and The Cheshire & Warrington Pledge for the opportunity to take part in this fantastic experience.

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