Neurological and dementia care centre installs Gainsborough baths


Award-winning facility delivers high-quality assisted bathing

The Marbrook Centre is a purpose-built specialist neurological and dementia care centre near St Neots in Cambridgeshire.

This impressive new build has the facilities to care for 81 residents living with life-changing conditions such as acquired brain injury, spinal injury, stroke, or dementia. It provides state-of-the-art rehabilitation and long-term care for private and NHS-funded clients.

All bedrooms at the unit have an en-suite wetroom plus easy access to a spacious accessible bathroom – each with either an Ascot or Kent 2 hi-lo bath with Air Spa provided by Gainsborough.

These assistive baths include powered bather transfer seats and variable height to provide the highest-quality care, safety, and dignity for bathers along with a safe working height for carers. With the support of a carer, each transfer seat lifts, rotates and lowers a bather into the bath in a safe and controlled manner. The bath and temperature controlled water can then be raised so that the user can experience the hygienic and therapeutic benefits of bathing.

Once fully operational the Marbrook Centre will have a 100-strong multi-disciplinary clinical team specialising in neurological care. These healthcare professionals will be operating in a building that incorporates cutting-edge design to ensure that each individual’s experience is of the utmost standard. The centre’s specialist dementia service has utilised the University of Stirling’s Dementia Design Best Practice to enable each resident to be as independent as possible. The university is regarded as a world leader in dementia-friendly design – hence has worked in partnership with the Marbrook management team to deliver a ‘calm and friendly’ environment with a ‘sense of meaning’ for clients.

Best-practice features include colour coding of fixtures and fittings to assist with orientation and location, specific tonal variations between walls and floors to encourage confident walking, through to wall-mounted memory boxes containing objects of personal significance.

The RSPB has advised on how to ensure the exterior of the Marbrook Centre and its sensory garden is wildlife friendly – adding to the overall vision to produce a place ‘full of life’ with a ‘sense of community’. There is also an impressive rehabilitation gymnasium onsite along with a salon, cinema, café, nine ‘rehabilitation’ kitchens and several multi-purpose entertainment rooms – all focused on encouraging as much independent activity as possible. The staff team also wear appropriate yet-non-professional clothing to encourage a more-homely, less-institutional feeling.

In terms of accessible baths, Gainsborough has been instrumental in helping The Marbrook Centre deliver safe and dignified bathing that is regarded as an ‘enjoyable occasion’.

Robert Myers, Marbrook's head of care pathways, said: "We believe assisted bathing provides multiple rehabilitation benefits to our residents and can be, for some, a far-more-pleasurable option than showering in an accessible wet room.

"We selected Gainsborough following a visit to last year’s Care Show, where this leading manufacturer showcased its range of hi-lo powered baths. Its product quality, committed service, and varied design and installation experience impressed us, along with an ability to add sensory features to the baths. Functions such as Chromotherapy and Air Spa enhance residents’ experience so that bathing sessions are both relaxing yet stimulating and help promote engagement with their key carers.”

He added: “The simple fact that the bath and water are raised up and over the bather, as opposed to the bather being lowered into water, is an important psychological feature, I would say.

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"Moving and handling risk is minimised, and safety maximised for both carer and bather through the hi-lo adjustment of each bath. The Kent 2 powered transfer seats can be detached to provide onward transit chairs. This provides a smooth and efficient transfer from bathroom to bedroom and eliminates the need to invest in ceiling track or mobile hoists.”