Dementia Festival of Ideas 2015


Last week our team visited Belfast to share our immersive approaches to dementia care at the Dementia Festival Of Ideas. We took part in an Ideas Lab which aimed to highlight and join together forward thinking companies who are generating new approaches for people living with dementia.

It was great to see the expanse of work being carried out with people living with dementia by artists and creative practitioners from across the world, and to understand how practices adapted to whether those people were within a care or community setting. We particularly loved the idea of creating semi-public gallery spaces within care homes to help develop dementia friendly communities, a project by Florence-based Architect Virginia Serrani. What was most inspiring was people’s commitment to developing creative experiences that were made with people living with dementia, rather than presented to them, a testament to the ways in which creative practice can empower people to regain ownership of their life.

At 4D we have been working with MerseyCare NHS trust to create person centred immersive spaces to improve communication and inspire memories.  To find out more, explore this presentation below which we shared with the panel of experts at the Festival Of Ideas.  If you’d like to visit an immersive space, please just get in touch with the 4D team who will be happy to help.

Dementia Festival Of Ideas 2015


4D creative are pleased to announce we have been selected to share our innovative, immersive approach to dementia care at Ideas Lab in Belfast. The event run in partnership between the Dementia Festival of Ideas and the The Dementia Services Development Centre (University of Stirling) aims to generate a new generation of ideas which will help shape the future of dementia.

Our immersive approach for people living with dementia combines therapeutic approaches, software and high impact audio visuals, but always keeps the individual at the heart of everything.

The focus of care within our immersive spaces is to relax people with dementia whilst stimulating memories and creating conversation points. Our person-centred approach has improved wellbeing, and has enabled families of people with dementia to be involved in the process by creating personalised content for the immersive space, from a favourite piece of music to photos from a memorable holiday.

After sharing details of our work, we have been invited to present to an international panel including artists, cultural leaders and dementia experts. As we develop our approach, it’s fantastic to be able to share this with others working in this field whilst also generating new ideas for future work.

The event is being held at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast on Wednesday 25th February 2015 and you can register for tickets here. To find out more please visit the Dementia Festival of Ideas page here.

If you’d like to find out more about our work or visit an immersive space then please get in touch with the 4D team via email or call 0161 686 5760

Showcasing portable immersive experiences in dementia care

tech kit

Each year Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust invites staff members to pitch new ideas in a Dragons Den style event and this year 4D were invited to showcase our immersive approaches to dementia care.

4D were invited by occupational therapist Hayley Wilkinson to join her pitch to the Dragons made up of the Trust’s Chair Alan Maden, Chief Executive Bev Humphrey, Directory of Operations and Nursing Gill Green, Director of Development and Performance Neil Thwaite and Deputy Director of Service and Business Development, Mary Lee.

Hayley is looking to use the 4D tech hub in her work with people living with dementia to inspire conversation and create calming, relaxing environments.  Her aim is to use our mobile tech hub around the ward she works on and the flexibility of the kit means it can be used in a huge number of ways with a variety of people.

The Dragons Den pitch gave us five minutes to present on how immersive experiences could impact positively across the Trust. Hayley explained passionately how it would hugely benefit her work and team 4D used the kit to turn the Dragons Den into an immersive space during the pitch. The presentation was received well with the Dragons asking Hayley and the 4D team lots of questions ranging from day to day use to training to costings.

For 4D, it’s fantastic that more and more practitioners are seeing the huge potential in creating immersive experiences for people living with dementia. We’ve already seen great results through our trial project with Mersey Care NHS trust and we’re confident that more spaces will be in use soon, hopefully including our mobile kit at Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust.

Watch this short video to see the impact of our portable immersive kit:

If you’d like to find out more about our work with people living with dementia, get in touch with the 4D creative team.

University of Manchester dementia insight event


Last week members of the 4D team attended a lecture hosted by the University of Manchester looking at dementia, the search for a cure and best care practices.

Hosted by NHS England’s Dementia Director, Professor Alistair Burn, the panel of guests shared a huge amount of insight and knowledge.

Heledd haf Griffiths and Professor Nigel Hooper are two biologists researching the causes of dementia and shared much on what they’ve found so far and the next steps. Professor Hooper shared with us the rate at which dementia is growing and then looked at the biology behind the disease. Professor Hooper’s colleague Heledd shared her families journey with dementia which led to her becoming determined to help find a cure.

The next part of the lecture looked at dementia therapies and we heard from Jacqueline Kindell, a PhD student at UoM’s School of Psychological Sciences. Jacqueline’s work is focused on best care practices and how to help those people living with dementia. The emphasis here is on familiarity and creating environments that support and help nurture the patient.

Everyone in the team got a lot from attending the evening and it also reinforced many of the ideas we are trying to implement in our immersive spaces for people living with dementia; a person centred approach that looks to engage and inspire.

If you’d like to find out more about our immersive, multi-sensory approaches to dementia care then just get in touch. We’d love to tell you more.

You can also find out more about this event at the University of Manchester’s website.

Immersive echo rooms at Alder Hey Hospital


4D creative are proud to announce the opening of two immersive spaces at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. The spaces have been inspired by the life of Joseph Mitchell and have been funded by a generous grant from Thomas Cooke Children’s Charity.

Joseph was looked after by Alder Hey but sadly lost his fight in 2012 at the age of 2 and a half. Since he passed away his parents have set up a charity to help other bereaved parents.

Joseph’s mother Lisa explains: “Joseph was such a brave little boy and never moaned about his illness or about being in hospital. He lived in Alder Hey for a year and the care he received was second to none. While I was there I realised how lucky we were to have Alder Hey on our doorstep.

“We became close to the cardiac team and all the staff on K2 and I wanted to thank them for everything they had done for Joseph. My bosses at Thomas Cooke told me they wanted to do something in memory of Joseph so I met with his clinician Ian Peart and Gill McBurney, cardiac nurse specialist, who was there on every step of Joseph’s journey. They suggested that we helped the hospital in getting this exciting equipment for the ECHO rooms.”

The spaces feature large scale projection, LED lighting and surround sound all controlled from an iPad featuring a full range of immersive content. Whilst a young person is having their heart scanned, they can be immersed in a setting of their choice to help relax and entertain.

Gill McBurney a cardiac nurse specialist at the hospital sees the new spaces as a huge opportunity for improving well being in a person centred approach: “This equipment is fantastic and will make a real difference to our patients. The room will feel less scary for our patients and they will feel that their scan takes no time at all! The likelihood of repeat scans due to the children moving during the procedure because they are restless or anxious will also be reduced.”

At 4D we are hugely proud to have been involved in this project and delighted that the immersive spaces can be moved into the new Alder Hey building when it’s complete.

Find out more by visiting an immersive space. Get in touch with the 4D team here.

Intergenerational Immersive Experiences. Register to find out more.


Our immersive experiences are having a huge impact on young people’s learning and those with dementia. As such, 4D are uniquely positioned to offer a new project looking at intergenerational immersive experiences.

This is a project that will use immersive approaches to blend cross-curricular teaching and learning with the development of a dementia-friendly community

We’ve identified a number of funding streams that would support this project and are now looking for expressions of interest from primary and secondary schools, as well as health care provisions.

For full details and to register your interest, visit our intergenerational experiences page here.

Dementia Special Interest Day with Disabled Living


This week we were delighted to be invited by Disabled Living to run a seminar about our immersive approaches to dementia care at their Dementia Special Interest day.

The event, which could have sold out over three times, welcomed a wide range of delegates from carers to occupational therapists to those managing care home provisions across the North West.

The line up of speakers was also wide reaching including those from the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends.

Our hour long seminar was built around how 4D have developed an immersive approach to dementia care. To give the delegates an instant understanding, our mobile kit was set up with three areas of projection complemented with lighting and sound instantly transforming the seminar room.

Images and videos were displayed and then delegates invited to explain how they felt, how the space had changed and how it could be used in their work.

There was also chance to explore some examples of how immersive experiences have led to a positive breakthrough in communication with some people or been used to calm a distressed individual.

It was a really positive day and we took much from it. At 4D, we are still on a journey of understanding as we develop a person centred immersive approach to dementia care and being able to talk, share and listen with others is always a really valuable experience.

If you’d like to come and explore more about our approaches and experience an immersive space for yourself, we’re hosting two open days in the coming months. Full details can be found here and we’d love to welcome you to our offices at MediaCityUK.

Explore a multi-sensory approach to dementia care


Improve wellbeing, enhance communication and increase participation

Our immersive work with people with dementia continues to develop and we want to share the latest news with you. The blended approach combines a person centred practice with technology to facilitate therapy across a continuum of support. Find out more by reading out case study from Stoddart House in Liverpool here.

Immersive experiences are having a positive experience by:

  • Enhancing communication by providing a memorable and personalised stimulus
  • Creating a long lasting sense of wellbeing and calm
  • Increasing the personalisation of care

Find out more at our upcoming open events and see how immersive experiences could have a positive impact in your work. 

Simply register for one of our free events to reserve a slot on our open day.

Dates: September 29th 2014 (2pm – 6pm) and October 27th 2014 (2pm – 6pm)
Location: 4D creative offices, MediaCityUK, Salford – full details here.

During the event you can:

  • Explore the immersive spaces created by 4D creative
  • Discover the images, lighting and sounds being used during each immersive experience
  • Learn about the impact of the spaces on people with dementia
  • Meet the team behind the designs and theraputic sessions
  • Understand how a space could impact your work

RSVP via our Eventbrite page by following this link or call the 4D office on 0844 414 2595

Multi sensory environments and dementia care research


Our recent project looking at the impact of immersive experiences on people with dementia has been a huge success and it’s an area we are continuing to research and explore.

The power of the spaces 4D have worked on is that you can create unique atmospheres and settings to inspire conversation and make care person centred for each individual. Come and read more over at our case study page.

Research into dementia treatment and prevention is a rapidly developing area and we’re going to use the 4D blog to cover interesting studies and the latest news.

First up is a piece of research from Kingston University looking at multi sensory spaces in dementia care.

This immediately jumped out at us as it has some similarities with our immersive experiences though there are key differences too.

“The project investigates the current design and application of Multi sensory environments including aesthetic qualities and functional parameters, within a care home context. Because little documented design guidance for MSEs for older people with dementia exists, the overall purpose of the research is to establish new knowledge from which coherent, user-centred design solutions can be developed. In this respect, the research outcomes will potentially contribute towards improved care services for those living with dementia”

Good design is key to any space but it’s also fascinating to see how it can impact positively on well being. The project’s research involved creating new sensory rooms for those people with dementia and seeing how the design of these spaces could make a difference. Explore the blog on the project here.

We’re looking forward to hearing more about the research in October as the University are holding an exhibition to mark the end of the first stage of the research. There will also be much discussion on designing spaces for people with dementia which we look forward to contributing to.

SEND reforms – are you ready? Free guidance pack to download.


As discussed in our previous blog, the SEND reforms could have an impact on practice at your school. From September 1st, schools will be expected to have clear systems for identification, assessment, monitoring and securing appropriate support for children with special educational needs. Today we have received new information from the Pathfinder Champion Support Team to help implement these reforms and inform staff of changes.

The document explains:

“The SEND reforms require a whole school approach to SEND. It is essential that the whole school community, governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, young people and parents, understand what the reforms mean for them.

This attached slide pack has been designed to help school leaders in mainstream schools engage the wider school community in the culture change. The aim is for school leaders to use selected slides from the pack to engage governors and staff in the reforms. It is not designed to be used in its entirety.

The slides have been developed in partnership with the Joint Professional Association SEND Forum, comprising representatives from ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NASUWT, NUT and Voice; as well as Achievement for All, London Leadership Strategy and organisations representing disabled children and their families.”

The school leaders slide pack, which you can download here, contains key information to help headteachers introduce new practices to staff and governors. There is also guidance notes which you can download here.

For full information visit the new Pathfinder website. The Pathfinder Champion Support Team have asked for these new resources to be passed on so everyone can benefit from the new advice so feel free to share.

What can 4D creative offer you to support the implementation of this legislation?

Within the 4D team, there are a range of skills and knowledge from across the disability agenda. Our operations manager, Colette Gollcher also works on behalf of the Council for Disabled Children supporting local authorities in their preparation for these reforms.

We have a range of workshops that can support you and your school:

  • A full briefing session to understand the upcoming reforms to enable you to support your children, young people, their families, your staff and governors.
  • A workshop explaining how to utilise an immersive space for person centred annual reviews
  • A day of live planning for a group of young people and their families who may be starting the journey in education health and case plans
  • Learn how to develop immersive content relevant to preparing children and young people for adulthood
  • A bespoke workshop designed around your ideas and intended outcomes. Just get in touch to find out more.

Next steps.

If you’d like to find out more about an immersive space being installed at your school contact Louise on

Alternatively, to discuss a workshop on the SEND reforms, please call on 0844 414 2595 or email:

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