The Bella Vista Day Centre is almost at full capacity servicing around 70 Alzheimer’s and dementia patients every weekday.
The centre began to slowly introduce patients in small group after it opened last January.
Situated at the ex-Royal Naval Hospital site, the centre once fully operational will cater for up to 90 patients. It aims to provide a space where those with dementia can be diagnosed, kept safe and stimulated throughout the day.
The four-storey building includes physiotherapy rooms, clinics, quiet rooms, a dining area and a hairdresser’s room.
There are around 300 people diagnosed with dementia living in Gibraltar and the facility at full capacity will cater for close to a third of all people diagnosed.
Once the specific needs are identified for each patient, the Multi-Disciplinary Team develops individualised care plans to optimise their quality of life.
The centre provides breakfast, lunch and snacks, ‘snoezelen’ facilities, reminiscence therapy, arts and crafts, cognitive stimulation programs, as well as personal hygiene for those who require additional help.
The afternoons are taken up mostly by entertainment with bingo sessions, table-top games, cinema and arts & crafts.
Those patients with mild dementia who are still active in the community are supported by cognitive stimulation via a computer programme. Each of the activities at the centre is designed with a therapeutic purpose and monitored by the professional team.
The aim is to promote autonomy and delay dependency.
“I am extremely pleased that the excellent Bella Vista Day Centre for Alzheimer and Dementia patients is now working to near full capacity,” said Health Minister Neil Costa.
“The success of this excellent centre is further testament to the ambitious vision that we have rolled out, regarding the need for a complete overhaul and transformation of care services in the community.”
“The quality and professionalism of the care provided to vulnerable members of the community at Bella Vista, is excellent – something that the people of Gibraltar can be justifiably proud. Bella Vista highlights our firm commitment to effective, compassionate and high quality care.”
The GHA has introduced GP services in the centre, in order to create a one-stop shop similar to the Primary Care Centre. With these services, continuity of care and a reduced burden on families is guaranteed.
“Alzheimer’s and Dementia are a concern of modern societies and we need to act decisively to ensure that we create the necessary infrastructure to deal with such a serious and growing medical condition,” Mr Costa said.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation for the work carried out by the service provider Meddoc, in ensuring that the Bella Vista Centre project came to successful fruition.”
“The Ministry for Health looks forward to a continued productive working relationship with them for the benefit of patients and their families. I was also especially impressed with the accessible friendly transport to and from Bella Vista, which Meddoc provides”
The centre give families much needed respite by providing the care for their relatives with dementia.
To aid the patients during difficult times ‘quiet rooms’ have been constructed. These rooms include sensory technology with colourful patterns projected on the walls and carpets, lava lamps and bright light-up wires.
“Families and service users have provided useful suggestions and very positive feedback for the first six months since Bella Vista opened,” said Bella Vista Day Centre manager Sonal Samtani.
“This reflects the efforts of the whole team and motivates us to continue to improve our service.”