Doctors install replica bus stop inside hospital’s emergency department to help dementia patients feel more relaxed

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By Helena Horton

Doctors have installed a fake ‘bus stop’ inside a hospital emergency department to help anxious dementia patients deal with the unfamiliar surroundings.

The replica in Southend University Hospital, Essex, includes  a sign, bench and timetable, and patients can feel calmed as they wait at it.

It is hoped the familiar sight will help patients suffering from the degenerative mental condition feel calmer.

Recent research has shown that patients often want to go home as they can’t understand what is happening.

Researchers found that¬†they become more relaxed when they see a bus stop and even wait for a vehicle to ‘arrive’.

Sarah Ecclestone, Practice Development Clinical Skills Nurse, said: “Unfortunately, patients with dementia often have short term memory problems and can become agitated in unfamiliar surroundings, often wandering, with the common theme of patients wanting to go home.

“Although patients may have short term memory loss, they are often able to recall familiar everyday landmarks from their long term memory and a bus stop can be one of those.

“Research has found that individuals become much more relaxed at the sight of a bus stop, sitting down and waiting for their ‘bus home’.

“It is something they often become fixated upon, and this installation will help put them at ease and take away some of that anxiety.”

Hospitals and care homes have begun to bring the outside world in to help people with dementia. Last year, the Five Rise Nursing Home in Bingley created a replica of a 1950s street, to allow the patients to literally stroll down memory lane.

The¬†Gateway care home in Bradford also turned its dining hall into a “train carriage”, with screens next to booths showing the countryside zip past.

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