College students have come up with innovative dementia-friendly ideas to transform hospital wards and make them more suitable for patients.

People on the level three health and social care course at Warrington and Vale Royal College completed vital work experience as part of a project to redesign a ward for people living with dementia.

The project was set up by Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with The Cheshire and Warrington Pledge and students used Warrington Hospital’s forget me not ward – a pioneering ward providing specialist care for people living with dementia - as inspiration.

The one-of-a-kind ward in the north west has unique design features like a mock bus stop, a traditional fire place and a relaxing quiet room.

Students spent a week working in groups and planned their projects before presenting their ideas to representatives from the NHS and the Pledge and they were also required to come up with a budget and fundraising ideas to develop the ward.

Health and social care tutor Jack Davies, who led the project in college, said the experience was worthwhile and provided the students with valuable skills.

He said: “The learners have developed key skills such as communication, time management and teamwork that will be able to be directly transferred into the workplace.

“Everyone who took part put in a brilliant effort and I’m so proud of every learner.

“The presentations were professional and as stated by the judges were of a quality suitable for practice - the ideas could be used immediately.”

Fiona Exley, health and social care catalyst at The Cheshire and Warrington Pledge, said: “All ten groups worked really hard on their presentations and some of the ideas they came up with were fantastic.”

Suggestions of a ward garden, a ‘blast from the past’ charity ball and memory boxes for each patient were just some of the ones that impressed the judges.

Lisa Murrell, employment engagement officer at Warrington and Vale Royal College, said, “This has been a fantastic experience and opportunity for the level three health and social care learners, they have had a wonderful insight into the NHS.

“I would like to thank all the practitioners and professionals who have volunteered their time and expertise to help organise and support the event.”

The winners of the challenge were group nine, who impressed the judges with their professional floor plan and consideration for family members.