HEALTH bosses say a centre of excellence for dementia patients will emerge after services were relocated.

Male dementia patients, who were at King’s Wood Centre, Turner Road, Colchester, have been moved to the vacant McIntyre Ward at the Landermere Centre in Clacton.

The move was part of a programme by North Essex Partnership University NHS Trust to improve in-patient care in north Essex.

With the male ward, Bernard Ward, and the existing female ward now housed in the same building, the Landermere Centre will focus on becoming a centre of excellence in caring for patients living with dementia and experiencing challenging behaviour.

That will mean it could have accreditation from Bournemouth University.

The trust says having a critical mass of specialist staff in the one unit benefits the patients and staff with the dedicated expert team better able to cope with the demands of caring for them.

Benefits to patients include having specialist staff available to swap between wards when necessary, to ease staff shortages, improving access to the community for such things as church services, and links to organisations, such as Alzheimer’s Society.

The work to accommodate the new ward at the Landermere Centre has also included a serenity suite for calming agitated patients, assistive technology in rooms and a sensory garden.

Clinical Manager Denise Cracknell said: “The two wards are working collaboratively as one unit which has now become alive with a hub of activity. Staff can work more closely on therapeutic interventions.

“Patients have more access to specialist staff and we are working on becoming a Centre for Excellence which will further benefit patients and their carers.

“Staffing is a challenge but having staff experienced with this client group in both wards is invaluable. We’re looking forward to seeing our patients working in the garden and we are expecting volunteer helpers in the near future.”

The plans have also seen the Peter Bruff mental health ward in Clacton move to the King’s Wood Centre in Colchester.

The changes bring all the wards into buildings owned by the trust, releasing the money saved on rent to go back into patient care.