DIMH 2019 CONFERENCE PREVIEW Autism centre landmark

The ‘Children are the future’ session will see Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, a national children’s charity based in Staffordshire that provides practical and emotional support for disabled children and their families, present. The charity has recently completed ‘the UK’s first independent purpose-built centre dedicated to multidisciplinary autism diagnosis, support, and research’, on the Keele University Science and Innovation Park. (The Network – October 2018). Eline Tops, an architect at MAAP Architects, will discuss the design of a new CAMHS treatment facility for adolescents with mental illness in north Brisbane, describing the techniques used in the co-design process mandated by the project sponsor, Queensland Health. The project’s goal was ‘to combine a spatially flexible, person- centred, and culturally appropriate design, without visible restrictions and negative affordances’. Lessons learned and practical commentary will be shared.

Dementia and Health & Wellbeing After lunch two concurrent sessions will run until the afternoon tea break – one on ‘Health & Wellbeing’, and the second on ‘Dementia’. Speakers in the former will include associate director at Fairhursts Design Group, Anthony Jones, presenting on ‘Metabolic syndrome & architecture: Improving our health and wellbeing’. His synopsis explains: “Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. On their own these conditions can damage your blood vessels, but having all three together is particularly dangerous. ... metabolic syndrome affects an estimated one in four adults in the UK, with a higher prevalence among people who suffer from mental illness.” Anthony Jones will explain ‘how architectural design can help’ – through the design of spaces and layout that encourage exercise and physical activity, reduce stress and anxiety, and encourage better nutrition, hygiene, and sleep.

Helping staff improve services Karen Flatt, Studio director and architect at IBI Group, will present on Rowan View, a new 123-bed medium secure mental health hospital in Liverpool for both mentally unwell and learning disability patients. The facility will support Mersey Care’s Centre for Perfect Care; its ‘mission’ is ‘to help staff continuously improve services, while simultaneously addressing the physical, mental health, addiction, learning disability care, and wellbeing challenges, of the future’. Service-users were consulted on all aspects of Rowan View– ‘from the architecture and landscaping through to the interior design, colours, and wayfinding’. Graduate graphic designer and illustrator, Alex Harrington, will then present on ‘City suicide prevention design’, explaining how she harnessed ‘photography and quotes’, design, civil engineering, and


Awards dinner will celebrate innovation and achievement

The ‘black tie’ 2019 Design in Mental Health Awards Dinner, taking place in the Premier Lounge at the Ricoh Arena on the evening of 21 May, will see awards presented in seven categories: l Product Innovation of the Year; l Concept Product Innovation of the Year; l Estates & Facilities Team of the Year; l Service User Engagement; l Architect of the Year (Mental health projects); l Project of the Year; l Art installation of the Year.

To enter the awards – the deadline for completed entries is 21 January – visit

‘psychology theories’, for a dissertation entitled ‘An exploration of the impact of oriental culture and its physical environment on present-day city suicidal prevention design in Seoul, Korea’. She explains: “Both cultural and design features discussed through case studies can be implemented globally. It is of paramount importance for global recognition of indirect solutions to tackle such a globally stigmatised and pressing subject.”

Dementia focus

With an ageing demographic, providing appropriate dementia care environments has become ever more pressing. In the ‘Dementia’ session, Dr Kay Wright, head of Research & Innovation at Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, will discuss the development of ‘a digital tool to improve patient safety in dementia wards’. Her presentation synopsis says: “Clinicians in inpatient wards face a ‘corridor problem’: they need to frequently check that patients are safe, but can’t be there to know this all the time; it disturbs patients, and is too time-intensive. There are long-established protocols to mitigate risk, but incidents on inpatient wards still occur.” CWPT has accordingly worked on a research project to identify if a digital tool, Oxehealth’s Digital Care Assistant, can help nurses reduce falls on dementia wards. The technology uses an optical sensor ‘to pay attention to a patient in a room, and provide data to staff on high-risk activity and vital signs’. CWPT is using it to alert staff to patients getting out of bed, track

night-time activity, and measure vital signs without entering a bedroom and disturbing patients. The project has been running since early 2018, and staff and carers have embraced the technology, with 79 per cent reporting that is has enabled them to prevent a fall.

Dementia care in acute settings Also within the ‘Dementia’ session, Benjamin Wall, an associate architect at LSI Architects, will describe the practice’s experience and learning over the past six years against a backdrop ‘where acute settings have been reviewed to incorporate the dementia perspective on a wider scale, with the first generation of such schemes delivered’. LSI undertook one of these ‘pilots’, and has used the experience to develop its approach to acute settings on a series of other projects in hospital settings. Benjamin Wall says: “Until recently the majority of dementia- friendly projects, products, and examples readily available were for care homes and other longer-term institutions, and not for acute settings. This vacuum has allowed ideas appropriate for one context to be absorbed and applied inappropriately to the wider healthcare estate. We have challenged this by interrogating the existing design guidance, engaging with users of the spaces we have designed following occupation, and developing an internal dementia review process. We believe the approach we have subsequently developed to dementia- friendly design is creating environments


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