Peel Health Campus brightens the experience of patients with dementia using 'sunflowers'

The rooms of patients with cognitive impairment will soon be brighter at Peel Health Campus, as the hospital introduces the 'sunflower tool' aimed at personalising and improving care.

Assisted by family or carers, patients with low communication abilities answer a number of short questions on a sunflower picture to allow staff to better understand their interests, needs and preferences.

The vibrant pictures will be utilised from September 22, to coincide with Dementia Action Week.

PHC chief Andrew Tome said the new tool will allow for a more comfortable journey for patients.

"The flower will identify what the patient's preferred name is, hobbies they enjoy, music they listen to and even their preference of tea or coffee," Mr Tome said.

"Patients with dementia or cognitive impairment can stay at our hospital anywhere from a few days, up to a number of months, so it is extremely important our staff are doing everything they can to make their time as pleasant as possible."

Mr Tome said the introduction of the sunflower tool in other hospitals has demonstrated its usefulness in alleviating anxieties of patients who often have language and communication difficulties.

This is just one of many initiatives taking place at PHC, with cognitive impairment focused education and training already a key part of the QUEST (Quality, Education, Safety and Training) program.

As well as improvements to signage, there are also plans to build a dedicated patio area for patients to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air more often.

World Dementia Action Week started on September 21, with staff at Peel Health Campus hosting a small fundraising event with the proceeds being donated to Alzheimer's WA.

Local Mandurah business Nom Nom Cakes kindly supplied sunflower cakes for the event, with the owner personally touched by a family history of dementia.

The theme of this year's awareness week is, "a little support makes a lot of difference".