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Charlie’s Village improving dementia patient journey

atient Neville Ross enjoys a meal with his daughter Michelle and granddaughter, Alexis at the new Charlies Village hotel accompanied by members of the CAM Unit team.

Patient Neville Ross enjoys a meal with his daughter Michelle and granddaughter, Alexis at the new Charlies Village hotel accompanied by members of the CAM Unit team.

A unique community village-like space in The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH)’s specialist dementia care unit is improving the experience of patients living with dementia and other cognitive conditions.

A unique community village-like space in The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH)’s specialist dementia care unit is improving the experience of patients living with dementia and other cognitive conditions.

The recently introduced ‘Charlie’s Village’ is the result of a transformation of the Cognitive Assessment and Management (CAM) Unit’s outdoor space to incorporate custom-built familiar facades such as a hair salon, bakery and café, general store, hotel, and post office.

Designed in collaboration with frontline clinicians and geriatricians, Charlie’s Village is designed to help patients feel more confident and comfortable and maintain some independence and mobility while in hospital.

Delirium and Dementia Service Nurse Practitioner Khera Kim said that caring for patients living with dementia and other cognitive impairment can be challenging due to behavioural changes.

“Patients with dementia may become agitated, unsettled or distressed in unfamiliar situations or with serious changes in health,” Khera said.

“When someone experiences a crisis or becomes unwell at home, they often need to visit the hospital to receive appropriate treatment and management. However, for individuals with cognitive or sensory impairment, going to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people can be intimidating.

“They may not fully understand why they are there or what is happening around them, which can trigger responsive and reactive changes in their behaviour.”

Charlie’s Village offers a valuable tool for staff to help patients adapt to their new surroundings, assisting them in managing changes in behaviour by providing positive distractions. By recreating a familiar environment, such as a general store or cafe, patients feel more at ease and less like they are in a hospital.

This also helps take the pressure of families and caregivers who can sometimes be pushed to a crisis point when dealing with difficult behavioural changes in their loved ones at home.

“The familiar scenes in Charlie’s Village may jog the person’s memories and elicit feelings of nostalgia, and they may have conversations about life outside of hospital and what they used to do,” Khera said.

“Creating a welcoming and familiar care environment for the patient can allow the care team to provide the necessary care in the least restrictive way possible.

“This results improved patient outcomes, reduced hospital stays, and an overall better quality of life for the patient.”

The Charlies Village project was supported by The Common Good, an initiative of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation.

2024-03-14T09:00:15+10:0013 December 2023|
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