Extensive refurb project transforms Hull facility

Multidisciplinary architectural practice, Alessandro Caruso Architects (ACA), has deployed its extensive healthcare design expertise to mastermind the £500,000 refurbishment of an inpatient unit for older people in Hull that predominantly houses patients with organic mental health problems. The 14 bedrooms at Maister Lodge, and the unit’s formerly ‘tired, drab, and somewhat institutional’ communal and living spaces, have been extensively remodelled using patient-focused dementia-friendly design principles, resulting in a more modern, spacious, light, and airy environment, as The Network’s editor, Jonathan Baillie, reports.

The project to fully refurbish and considerably modernise the bedrooms, bathrooms, and communal/circulation spaces at Maister Lodge in Hull’s Middlesex Road was completed on time and on budget by Yorkshire-based contractor, Sewell Group, in early July 2018, the re- modelling having only started the previous December. During the work – which involved some demolition – patients and staff moved to Dove House, a local hospice with whose management team the Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Maister Lodge – has an excellent relationship. While the hospice provided a comfortable temporary home, Jo Inglis, the charge nurse at Maister Lodge, who I met up withat the unit, along with the lead architect on the ‘refurb’ project, Alex Caruso, said staff and patients had been excited to move back into their new accommodation on the completion of a project which has had a ‘genuinely transformative’ impact on the 1980s-built inpatient facilities.

A multidisciplinary practice Alessandro Caruso Architects, which undertook the design, is a multidisciplinary consultancy with substantial healthcare, education, commercial, conservation, and residential experience. The Beverley- headquartered firm provides architecture, interior, and landscape services, and has worked on a broad spectrum of projects, both here and overseas. As exemplified on this scheme – where ACA worked closely throughout with Rob Atkinson, the head of Estates at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, and the Estates & Facilities team, as well as with clinicians, nurses, and other stakeholders – the practice takes pride in working closely with its clients, and in developing and building long-term relationships. It also has substantial experience in designing acute and mental healthcare facilities. Rob Atkinson said of its approach: “Having an in-depth knowledge of care environments,


mental health problems’. It adds: “The inpatient service provides hospital-based care for those in the most acute and vulnerable stages of mental illness, who are unable to be supported at home effectively or safely. It provides a non-discriminating, safe, and therapeutic environment which promotes health, wellbeing, and independence, and strives to return patients to their usual place of residence as soon as possible.”

Incorporating suitable artwork has been an important element of the £500,000 refurbishment at Maister Lodge – with local travel-related themes featuring heavily, since travel has been shown to stimulate memory.

ACA consistently strives to provide sensitive, innovative, and patient- orientated design solutions.” For its part, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust provides a broad range of community and inpatient mental health and learning disability services, healthy lifestyle support, and addictions services, to people living in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire, an area home to approximately 600,000 people. It also offers services for children, while its specialist services – such as forensic support and offender health – support patients from both the wider Yorkshire and Humber area and further afield. The Trust describes Maister Lodge as ‘an inpatient unit for older people that provides a comprehensive, needs-led service to Hull and East Riding residents experiencing predominantly organic

Patient-centered care These goals, and the Trust’s focus and ethos on high quality, tailored care were – Alex Caruso and Jo Inglis made clear – firmly embedded in all aspects of the design of the refurbished facilities. Jo Inglis, who manages the unit, began by telling me a little about the patient group at Maister Lodge, a dementia assessment and treatment unit that predominantly accommodates people aged over 65. She explained: “We principally look after those with organic brain damage such as dementia and stroke damage. Our goal is to work using a person-centred model, looking at unmet needs. Our patients might previously have been living alone or with a partner, in residential care, or in a general hospital, where they may have become distressed and needed further assessment. “We serve the whole of Hull and the East Riding, but see some patients from out of area too.” Stay lengths range ‘from a few weeks to over a year’. “It is sadly proving increasingly difficult to find somewhere that can meet the needs of patients on discharge from the ward,” Jo Inglis explained. “With skilled intervention, however, we do now get more back home.” Modern dementia therapy, she went on to explain, not only entails looking at an individual’s current condition, but also at their past life, physical health, family relationships, hobbies, personality, and interests. Jo Inglis said: “By pulling all this together with a psychiatrist, psychologist, and the nursing team, you get a pen


ACA/Nazia Hussain

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