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Royal Devon and Exeter NHS FT

Projects to create environments to aid care at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

December 2012 – December 2013

In December 2012 Exeter Healthcare Arts led the first stage bid to the Department of Health’s ‘Improving the environment of care for people with Dementia’ £50 million fund. In March/April the Trust was invited to move to second stage in the bid process by submitting more detailed proposals. In August the Department of Health confirmed that the bid was approved and financial structures were put in place for budget and procurement control. Once the capital funding was confirmed detailed design began in earnest. The key design elements were fixed in August ’13:

  • Meandering circular walking route based on a gingko tree leaf, within a landscape inspired by the village green concept
  • Pavilion to provide shelter and performance ’stage’
  • Potting shed to hold hand tools with ‘lean to’ space for sensory experience via a ‘Cabinet of Scents’
  • All weather ‘green’ to enable drama, dance and musical performances
  • Raised planting beds to allow patients to garden and generally ‘dibble about’
  • Post box to receive cards worked on by patients within arts led ward projects and including relation and friends comments on care on the ward
  • Water feature with safe water circulation and grill, plus seating
  • Fixed seating with incised date and picture timeline to allow visual and tactile ‘reading’ by patients to prompt dialogue
  • Informal seating ‘musical chairs’ with integrated programmable sound system to relay time specific popular song and music
  • Restored Phone Box with programmable sound system delivering recordings of inspiring stories and testimony of Exeter and Devon voiced by actors

Completed Design
The completed design holds true to the initial design concepts and has been enhanced by the consultation process. The retention of audio delivery systems and the scent project and post box will ‘future proof’ the scheme to be fed by patient activity and other arts projects.


The Devon Garden by Toby Buckland


The Journey from Ward to Garden
The concept for improving the environment at ‘front of house’ i.e. the ward entrance and the journey from ward to garden is agreed. The journey will consist of the walk from ward entrance to the lift or stairs for the more able. In the past staff and physiotherapists have taken patients from the ward to the adjacent exhibition space which is programmed bearing this in mind.

The project however is specifically designed to present images showing national and local events and depiction of places and people during the last 60 to 100 years. These are to be printed on wipe clean panels and positioned at intervals along the journey to aid and encourage patients to walk for exercise and mind stimulation. The lift will also be transformed using the same palette of images and materials


Contact: Stephen Pettet-Smith
Design Coordinator
Exeter Health Care Arts



Exeter Health Care Arts logo   Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital logo



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