Gateshead College students create mural to help patients with dementia

In a ground breaking move to alleviate distress among patients with dementia, Cragside, an inpatient dementia assessment and treatment unit at Queen Elizabeth (QE) Hospital has unveiled a stunning retro designed mural. Recognising the clinical and sterile look of the walls, the team in Cragside worked together with students from Gateshead College to create an artwork that evokes a sense of home and familiarity for dementia patients. The impact has been remarkable, with the mural serving as a focal point for patients, encouraging discussions, and fostering a serene and relaxed environment. This innovative intervention is set to redefine the patient experience at Cragside.

view of the mural from the left
Cragside mural from the left

The idea of the mural came about when staff realised the walls in Cragisde were too clinical and plain, resulting in them reaching out to Gateshead College to design a mural that reminded dementia patients of home. This had a positive effect on patients as it has become a focus and discussion point for patients allowing them to be calmer and more relaxed thus enhancing the patient experience.

view of the mural from the right
Cragside mural from the right

The mural depicts many different landmarks, celebrities, phrases and more from all across the region. It was designed and created by 20 students from Gateshead College with the average age being around 16 or 17 years old. The mural took only weeks to be completed and was done voluntarily by the students.

one part of the mural from face on
A section of the Cragside mural

The mural at Cragside is not only visually captivating but also highly durable, designed to withstand the test of time. Its wipeable and unpeelable nature ensures its longevity for many years to come. Moreover, it goes beyond being just a decorative piece, as it serves as a source of amusement and entertainment for patients. This, in turn, effectively reduces stress levels and minimises anti-social behaviours among patients. The positive impact extends to the staff as well, as it saves valuable time and resources that would otherwise be spent on calming down patients. Additionally, the mural has become a prominent landmark within Cragside, providing direction and aiding those patients who may feel disoriented.

Trudie Davies, Gateshead Health’s Chief Executive said “I would like to thank Gateshead College and their students who generously gave up their own time to create this amazing mural in support of our patients with dementia at Cragside. Thank you to the team at Cragside and our charity for funding the project and everyone else who was involved in bringing this artwork to life. This will enhance the patient experience and be a talking point amongst patients for many years to come”

group picture in front of the mural
Trudie Davies, Liz Carter and the Cragside Team in front of the mural

Sharon Fenwick, Curriculum Leader at Gateshead College said: “Thanks to the staff at Cragside for providing our students with this unique opportunity to put their artistic skills into creating the mural. They loved working on the brief, using their creativity to create something that not only has a visual impact but also helps the patients at Cragside.”

The artwork was funded by QE Charitable funds in support of improving the environment for our older patients who suffer with mental health difficulties. Visit the QE Charitable Funds website to support future projects and to see how else the charity improves the patient experience in Gateshead.