Strategic refurbishment at Freeman Hospital complete

  • 23rd January 2024

To improve orientation for people with dementia and other cognitive impairments, different rooms and spaces are identified by their own unique local landmark

Work has been completed on a strategically-important refurbishment project at Freeman Hospital to create an environment for care that is supportive to clinical staff and reassuringly calm for patients.

The work forms part of the Newcastle Hospitals Internal Improvement Programme, which is a result of an estates strategy developed by Medical Architecture and The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

As well as the overhaul of several clinical wards, this phase of work also included upgrades to a set of prominent lift lobbies and circulation spaces.

Particular attention was given to designing for patients with dementia and frailty, as well as technical standards and guidance compliance, and working within the constraints of the existing structure.

The resulting aesthetic is light and bright, with good-quality and well-co-ordinated ceilings, lighting fixtures, and finishes.

Working with the trust’s dementia team, an artistic approach to wayfinding was developed to aid those with cognitive impairment, with different rooms and spaces identified by their own unique local landmark.

And biophilic design principles were incorporated in the upgraded circulation and lobby spaces to improve the environmental qualities of these high-traffic spaces.

The work also included upgrades to a set of prominent lift lobbies and circulation spaces

Attention to detail was crucial, as space was often limited. This included making sure that furniture was well planned and considered to provide optimal facilities for clinicians.

Generously-sized equipment bays were also provided to ensure circulation spaces are left clutter free and accessible.

Alex Ferguson, an architect at Medical Architecture, said: “These strategic upgrades will make a big difference to the experience of patients, staff, and visitors, demonstrating that relatively-modest, but well-planned interventions, can create high-quality spaces that deliver excellent value to the trust.”

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