Yesterday I was with Emma Williams – Dementia Action Alliance coordinator for the East Riding. We’d been asked to do a walk around by a Gp surgery a few miles from where I live. It’s a new building and once more they’re asking us to walk round after it’s opened rather than involving us during the design……but hey ho, maybe one day local authorities etc will cotton on to the fact that money can be saved if they get us involved from the start……….at least this one has made a start and asked us now…….
Emma had kindly agreed to pick me up from my village – slight problem as many people have picked me up from the village recently and I couldn’t remember where we usually met…..🙄 but I knew if I wandered around the usual places that we’d spot one another……
The funny thing about this surgery, is that I’ve passed it every time I go on the bus …..and I’ve always thought it to be a Sports Centre 😂 good start eh?
Anyway, it was a lovely autumn morning – cold but nice and sunny when Emma picked me up…
I got a lovely surprise when I found out that Sandra would be there from the DAA steering group – bonus!
The car park was lovely and big but the first problem was there were 3 doors so it wasn’t clearly where to go – all it would need is a welcome sign on the door ……..
The door mat was a nice tan colour – TICK😊
However, it wasn’t clear where to go when you got in the main entrance as there were 2 desks and the automatic sign in screen was out of site…….yet there’s a simple solution for the desks…….a welcome sign …….
We were met in their ‘ Health education’ room by the Operations manager. It must always be a challenge for managers when people like us appear as they think it will be all criticism, but I hope they feel that it’s constructive and we always highlight the positives as well…..
This room was a wonderful quiet space just off reception that was full of leaflets and a machine for patients that measured everything but your inside leg measurement and automatically added the data to your patient record – genius! It was a wonderful room but simply needed
to have been made more welcoming – a sign saying:
“Come and have a look at our leaflet library’ or “Open for all to use”
just something to make people go in there as I thought it was a waiting room to see someone else. A brilliant resource that simply needed better signage.
And the chairs were wonderful colours- brownie points again…..
The manager took us on a tour of the building. The corridors were very long yet brownie points were scored for the different coloured surround around the doors and it was simply signage – lots of doors that needed stickie out signs with their number on so you could see exactly which room you were heading for……it would also be really nice to have a smiley picture on the door of the doctor who lurked inside…..
The carpet sadly in the main reception and the corridor was very crazy as you might be able to tell from the photo above but everywhere else was good.
The waiting area was light and airy and we all agreed the call boards were good as they changed from information to the name of the person being called at the sound of a bell. The seating was wonderful as they have bright colours – oranges, blue and yellow throughout.
It was very clutter free and was a nice peaceful environment even though it was full.
The only thing missing was a clock.
Toilets had different colour seats but signage, again, was the one thing lacking. It was very disconcerting to see mirrors placed opposite the toilet but the lighting was fine and there was space to get a wheelchair in which was wonderful – AND no noisy hand dryers as they had paper towels. I know most places now have the hand driers but I find them doubly noisy and much prefer places with paper towels.
We went to have a look upstairs which had a balcony that looked down onto the waiting area below – It had a perspex screen down to the floor and these are always confusing as they look like you can jump to the floor below – simple solution is to have the chairs with their backs to the perspex.
I mentioned that coming down the stairs posed a problem for many people with dementia, as sometimes stairs can appear to move or appear as a slide. I offered the solution that I often personally use, in the form of someone walking in front of you so you can hold their shoulder but also means you’re not focusing on the stairs…….
We talked of the walls being very bare and they were waiting for us to comment on what would be good. They have contact with 2 local schools who are willing to help and we suggested how it would be wonderful to have a display of their work according to the season. So now they’d display autumn pictures – what a great way to get children involved…..
The biggest brownie point of the morning that came in the form of a much needed cuppa……😊 their score sheet suddenly shot up at this point……….
All the staff, including Gps are going through a Dementia Friends session, which is good news….
We sat and chatted through the scores and although some scores were very low, they had immediate quick win solutions in the form of better signage. Often simple solutions create the biggest wins. And as I’m always saying, smiley reception staff and doctors create a welcoming atmosphere that can easily allay the fears of why you’re there…….
They might not be able to afford to replace the scary carpet but a smiley helpful person may alleviate any fear felt through having to navigate across it…….
A great morning which ended with Sandra telling us the story of her sheep dog not obeying orders………..the reason?……it had come from a Welsh family so couldn’t understand what they were saying…..priceless……..