Case Study - Leeds Hospitals Trust Dementia Care

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One of the biggest NHS trusts in the country, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, is tackling one of society’s greatest challenges - with colour.


Dulux trade helps design Leeds hospitals trust dementia care spaces

One of the biggest NHS trusts in the country, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, is tackling one of society’s greatest challenges - with colour.

The hospital trust teamed up with Dulux Trade to design a healthcare environment that focused on extracting some of the design flaws in public spaces that make it more difficult for those with dementia under their care, to feel fully supported during their stay.  

Thanks to a design scheme that considers, colour, contrast, texture and materials supportive of aged care, including those residents with dementia, a space can be made to be stimulating, welcoming and comfortable.

It can also play a key role in overcoming resident anxiety and reducing slips, trips and falls by making spaces easier to navigate.

With this in mind, Dulux Trade spent over six years planning, preparing and completing the project - which saw over 30 wards painted, as well as offices, corridors, and communal areas given a fresh new look.

The Dulux Trade Commercial Colour Services team selected a range of colours to assist in encouraging the mobility of patients who also have dementia - incorporating design techniques such as camouflaging doorways that are for staff access only or using stronger colour to highlight focal areas the staff wanted to encourage patients to transition to and from such as toilets and day rooms.  

Taking these principles into account, the walls were painted in Linnet White, the doors in Grey Flint and the trim in Goosewing. 



Colour blocks were also added in accent stripes using greens, blues and purples. Recognising the value of creating dynamic visual environments, the team were keen to also ensure the space appealed to the staff working there, as well as any visitors, whilst also providing a very practical way of promoting recognition of various zones in what could be seen as very daunting open spaces. This colour palette and the design principles developed on the project were then a key part of the creation of the Dulux Trade Dementia Friendly Colour Palette and Design Guide, which aims to help professionals create environments that optimise occupant wellbeing for dementia patients and their families.


And as well as developing a colour scheme ideally suited to this healthcare facility, the team used water-based paints to minimise the impact on both the environment, as well as the air quality around the wards while painting took place. The Dulux Trade team advised the hospital trust - which houses 2,500 beds with 14,000 staff across six sites - that the water-based Diamond range was the best course of action. Julian Sharpe, Dulux Decorator Centre 360 Specifier Development Manager said: “We used our Diamond range for durability, as well as the lower impact on the environment. In the long term it absolutely gives the best value for money. “Empty ward time is critical and projects need to be completed in a timely manner, so fast drying products are ideal and the Diamond range ticks that box, as well being a low odour product which is imperative for this environment.


“Once our work was complete we had great feedback from both staff and patients so it was really great to see the difference we made.” Dulux Trade was able to work alongside the site leader David Gibson at the NHS trust to advise on the correct product and colour choice through on-site training and testing. David Gibson from Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said: “We’re delighted with the results of this project with Dulux Trade. “Their expertise has been instrumental in helping us create spaces that are stimulating, welcoming and comfortable for all our patients and particularly the most vulnerable ones living with dementia. “Dulux Trade quickly recognised their particular needs and created a specially-adapted healthcare environment that makes it easier to become familiar with the layout quickly, and as such promotes a higher level of confidence. We understand just how important it is for family and friends to see how these relatively unfamiliar spaces can work in harmony with the clinical care their loved ones need. It’s been a joint goal with Leeds Teaching hospital to elevate design as an integral component of the way forward in healthcare, affording a sense of dignity and independence for the most vulnerable.”

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