An example of an image already used by East Midlands Ambulance Service. Pic courtesy of East Midlands Ambulance Service

Calling budding local artists and photographers

Hunt is on for image for new dementia-friendly ambulances

Budding photographers and artists across the North East are being invited to join in an innovative project with their local ambulance service to help patients living with dementia.

Last year, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) embarked on a major re-design of its vehicles – a first for the country – in order to improve its service for disabled patients, including people with sight and hearing impairments and people living with dementia.

In all, 44 emergency ambulances and 43 patient transport vehicles are in the process of being adapted to make them more accessible. 

Among the changes are a new look interior, an improved colour scheme, flooring, seat colours, better signs and handrails.  The colour contrast between the walls, floor and cabinets has also been changed to improve access for patients.

As part of this re-design, the service is now looking to include new imagery on the inside of the emergency ambulances to help reduce anxiety which can sometimes be faced by patients living with dementia.

And it is calling on local photographers and artists to send in their images for consideration.

Images should include a generic scene or scene within the North East which doesn’t include identifiable landmarks as this can be disorientating for people living with dementia.

Submissions should be sent to publicrelations@neas.nhs.uk by Friday, 31 January.

NEAS Chief Executive, Helen Ray, said: “Travelling in an ambulance, and the circumstances surrounding the need for an ambulance, can be a traumatic experience for patients, and can be particularly unsettling for patients living with dementia.

“As we strive to make a difference to every patient whose life we touch within our region, this is just a small way that we can try and further improve on the care we are able to provide.

“Similar imagery has already been used by two other ambulance services and we know from their feedback that the images help to aid conversation with staff, which can in turn help make the environment more relaxing for the patient and therefore reduce anxiety.

“We would like pictures from all seasons featuring multiple points of interest, for example a landscape, trees, a pond, wildlife, a vehicle, and people undertaking activities such as walking or running. The more points of interest are included in the image, the more opportunities our staff will have to strike up conversation.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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