The region’s ambulance service has introduced new vehicles for both 999 and non-emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) with features to improve the experience of patients with dementia.
The improvements to the vehicles will create a calmer environment for someone who is living with dementia, and help to put them at ease. This includes printed blinds, which feature a landscape of the countryside for a sense of comfort and familiarity, and improved contrasting on the seats, floor and steps for better visibility.
There are 13 dementia-friendly vehicles for 999 now in service, with a further 21 in the commissioning process and an additional 91 vehicles to be delivered before the end of the financial year (31 March 2024). 60 PTS vehicles are also currently in build.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) had the opportunity to demonstrate its new vehicles as part of a research project taking place in Australia, to show how the needs of patients with dementia can be met. In November 2023, YAS hosted a visit from Lindsay Bent, Intensive Care Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria in Australia, who received a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to research dementia-friendly ambulances. As part of his research, he has visited a number of NHS ambulance services in the UK to understand the work that has been done in the sector to improve the experiences of people living with dementia.
Lesley Butterworth, Head of Nursing and Patient Experience at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Following some challenges along the way, we are pleased to have taken delivery of some of our new dementia-friendly vehicles. The printed blinds make the passenger area seem less clinical, and they give a point of focus and conversation for someone who is living with dementia and may be distressed in this environment. The new contrasting on the seats, floor and steps of the vehicles also makes the edges more easily identifiable for patients. These simple additions to our vehicles will have a positive impact on patient experience.”