Marlborough's first hospital specialising in dementia care has opened, meaning people suffering from the disease no longer need to leave their hometown.
The hospital is based at Aberleigh Rest Home, in Springlands, and was opened in collaboration with the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board.
Aberleigh Rest Home manager Maja Yu said people with dementia previously had to move to the nearest dementia hospital in Nelson when their illness reached an advanced level.
"Now when people require this type of specialist care they will be able to stay in Blenheim close to family and friends, in an environment they know," she said.
"It brings a measure of comfort to people with dementia and their families knowing that they will not have to move to Nelson."
Alzheimer's Marlborough president Roger Brown welcomed the new facility, saying it would help to make life better for all people affected by dementia.
"Some of our clients and their families have been greatly disadvantaged in the past due to the lack of such facilities close to home," he said.
The new six-bedroom hospital has a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day, and residents are encouraged to continue with their familiar roles, giving them an increased sense of purpose and value, Ms Yu said.
"Each resident has a private bedroom with sunny nooks to sit in and access to a garden."
The hospital, which got its third resident last week, also has open-plan living areas, with a lounge, dining area and kitchenette.
A dedicated dementia respite home was also opened at the rest home, allowing families or carers to book respite care for patients and allow them to take a break.
"Enabling the carer to take regular breaks delays the need to go into permanent residential care," Ms Yu said.
Aberleigh Rest Home is part of Dementia Care New Zealand, a privately owned group that provides hospital dementia care throughout New Zealand.
It has a four-year Ministry of Health certification, which is the highest level attainable.
- The Marlborough Express
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