A PURPOSE-built ward providing specialist care to older adults with dementia has opened after a multi-million-pound transformation.

Cantilupe Ward, located within the Stonebow Unit provides specialist mental health care for older adults with dementia, or complex or enduring mental health needs.

The ward is the second of three mental health wards at the unit to undergo redevelopment as part of the Eliminating Dormitories project, a national scheme to eradicate dormitory-style accommodation from mental health facilities across the country.


Once complete, the £14.9 million project will see the creation of three bespoke mental health inpatient wards, each boasting private en-suite bedrooms, improved communal areas and accessible outdoor space.

The move to replace dormitory-style accommodation, with individual private bedrooms is hoped to improve privacy and dignity, enhancing patient care and improving outcomes.

Patients on Cantilupe will benefit from larger communal areas that enable them to eat and socialise together, a female-only lounge and a dedicated area for patients and their families experiencing acute mental distress or end-of-life care. This area has its own separate outdoor space and family room.

Each patient has their own bedroom and en-suite facilities, complete with unique ‘front door’, which a spokesperson said will help with improving familiarity and supporting patients to feel more settled while receiving inpatient care.

Medical director Dr John Devapriam said: “All aspects of the ward have been designed to maximise the therapeutic outcomes for our patients. Together with the specialist care provided by our teams, this will support our patients to reach their recovery goals quicker and reduce their length of stay in hospital.

Ward manager Ian Richards said: “The new Cantilupe Ward is a significant improvement for our patients. Each patient now has their own en-suite bedroom which will improve their dignity and privacy.

"Our new communal areas support patients to socialise helping to increase everyday experiences while they are in hospital.

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“Our staff will also benefit from the larger working space, good visual observations of the ward and all that use the ward will benefit from the modern, clean and fresh interior”

Cantilupe Ward is the fourth of five mental health wards run by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust benefitting from national investment to remove dormitory-style accommodation.

Work at the Elgar Unit in Worcestershire was completed last year, with Jenny Lind Ward, also at the Stonebow Unit, opening in November 2022. Construction is now underway on nearby Mortimer Ward, which is due to open later this year.