Video: New initiative aims to reduce anxiety for patients with dementia after surgery

Archived news: published on Monday 15 Apr 2019 by NHS Fife

New Recovery Area - Theatres

New Recovery Area - Theatres

A new recovery area has opened at the Victoria Hospital aimed at minimising the anxiety of patients with dementia and cognitive impairment as they wake from surgery.

The experience of coming round from an anaesthetic following surgery can be a frightening experience, particularly if you live with dementia, delirium or cognitive impaired.

Local artist Karen Masters was commissioned to create a piece of art within the surgical recovery area which provides a calming distraction and reduces anxiety and distress for such patients.

Karen worked alongside theatre staff and specialist dementia nurses to understand the needs of this patient group before creating a beautiful mural of a tranquil Scottish loch side and the associated trees, flowers, birds and animals.

Spanning across 48 square feet, the mural was created using high contrast painting techniques to ensure that it could benefit patients with visual impairments. Relaxing mood music and subtle wildlife sounds have also been added to create as calming an environment as possible.

The project cost around £1,100 to complete with the finance granted from Fife Health Board Endowment Fund.

Speaking about the new recovery area, Director of Nursing, Helen Buchanan, said:

“Undergoing surgery can be a worrying time for any of us, and for those with dementia or cognitive impairment it can be particularly distressing.

“We know that distress and anxiety can have a really detrimental effect on the overall health of people with dementia, and developments such as our new recovery area assist us to minimise the distress experienced by such patients, and indeed their families and loved ones.

“Importantly, this new development is about more than the merely the environment we provide for patients – it is about our caring approach and ensuring that treatment we offer is not only therapeutic but puts the holistic needs of the person at the core of everything we do.“

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