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Frimley Park physios trial ‘dementia friendly’ red walking frames

30 June 2015 - 11:27am

Physiotherapists are running a trial to see whether offering bright red walking frames to people with dementia encourages them to use them and be more active.

Dementia red walking frame

Sandra Berry, physio dementia champion at Frimley Park, tries a red frame with Jenny Plummer, physio head of service for medicine

The initiative is taking place at Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, Surrey, part of Frimley Health NHS Trust.

The wheeled walkers are typically manufactured in a relatively dull metallic shade. But after negotiations, a supplier agreed to produce 20 walkers in a more striking shade of red.

Jenny Plummer, the hospital’s physiotherapy head of service for medicine, told Frontline: ‘As far as I am aware we are the first trust to use specifically-manufactured red frames with patients who have dementia in an attempt to increase their mobility.

‘None of the suppliers stocked red rollators so the production process was put in place purely on our request.’

She said that Frimley Park Hospital is ‘dementia friendly’, already using red meal trays and red toilet signs for patients with dementia. Bright colours can highlight important objects, making them easier for people with dementia to find and use, Ms Plummer explained.

‘But we want to evaluate the effectiveness of the walkers before we order larger quantities and make them standard,’ said Ms Plummer.

‘We are starting dementia patients on a standard silver frame. If they struggle with it - for example by not remembering to use it or struggling to find the handles - then we give them a red frame, which stands out much more against the pale green hospital floor.’

The frames are being made available to inpatients on medical, orthopaedics, surgical, intensive care unit and neurology wards.

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