Aug 26, 2020

Improving mental health for older people in a woodland setting

Dorset has one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the UK. We have designed a new 20-bed mental health inpatient unit for older people on the Alderney Hospital site which will address the changing needs of the county’s inhabitants, and help Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust achieve its objective of making Alderney Hospital a centre of excellence for elderly healthcare.

Subject to planning permission, the new unit will be located in the hospital’s attractive woodland setting. Timber from felled trees will be used to form an enhanced wheelchair accessible woodland walk for patients, staff and the wider community to enjoy the hospital’s ecological setting for its therapeutic and calming benefits. Encouraging integration and natural recovery will help to counter the stigma associated with mental health, and instead foster a sense of pride in the new facility.

The new building is designed to encourage wellbeing. It is organised around a therapeutic garden at its heart. This allows abundant daylight into the building and provides an easily supervised space for horticultural activity, reflection, recovery, social interaction and the enjoyment of a sumptuous variety of planting.

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