Students team up with health trust to create ‘dementia friendly’ artwork

dementia art projectPhotography students from Tameside College have helped to brighten up dementia wards across Greater Manchester with images of local scenery.

The students, who are on a photography BTEC course at Tameside College created images of iconic locations in Greater Manchester that will hang on the walls of specialist units in Bury, Oldham, Tameside, Stockport and Rochdale.

The units are run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust which is investing £50,000 to make them more dementia friendly.

The students worked with health staff to get a better understanding of dementia and were given a brief that included guidance on avoiding abstract images and reflective surfaces, as research suggests these can be confusing or distressing for dementia patients.

Locations such as the Stockport Viaduct and Manchester Ship Canal were chosen for the project.

Victoria Jordan, Capital Projects and Commissioning Officer at Pennine Care, paid tribute to the students’ hard work.

She said: “The students have produced some stunning images and we’re really grateful to them.

“We know that people experiencing dementia can often find ward environments distressing but having appropriate photographs can help them navigate around the wards and bring back fond memories from their past.”

Declan Brady, Capital Projects Manager, added: “Dementia care is a topic very much at the forefront of our healthcare system and anything we can implement like this to assist in the overall delivery of care is of paramount importance. ”

Kayla Myers, 17, from Stockport used images of Formby beach for her project.

She said: “It’s a nice thing to be involved in and I think it’s a really good idea to have images on the wards.”

Michelle Coyne, 36, from Hadfield, added: “I hadn’t ever thought about where the art in hospitals comes from but I’m really proud to have contributed to it.”

Irena Siwiak Atamewan, Photography Lecturer at Tameside College said: “It’s an important part of the students’ education and experience to take part in live briefs as it gives them a taste of working with a client and a working to a deadline.

"When we take part in live briefs, the students always take the challenge and produce great work. They’ve had a great time working with the Health Trust on this project and making a difference in the lives of those patients that suffer with dementia.”