A PILOT project which aims to transform care for dementia patients is due to go ahead in York.

Staff at Windsor House in Acomb will work to create “a home from home” in the year-long project, with proposals to provide self-contained households for residents with an open plan country-style kitchen to make snacks and drinks in.

Other plans include painting bedroom doors to resemble front doors, getting rid of staff uniforms and creating life history and memory boxes outside rooms.

It is hoped the pilot – which will run until the end of the year – can be used to help shape the design of the new “super care homes”, specialist dementia and high dependency care homes, due to open at Lowfield and Burnholme in York in 2016.

Windsor House is among seven elderly people’s homes due to close when the two new homes open, and residents will move into the new facilities.

City of York Council said it wanted to trial the best way of making its care homes feel like real homes, as opposed to the more institutionalised feel of traditional elderly person’s homes.

Graham Terry, of adult commissioning, modernisation and provision at the council, said: “We want to encourage and support the people living within our homes to be independent and active, for example, by helping out with every day domestic tasks within the home, and to have the opportunity to talk about and engage in their past life hobbies and interests.

“We hope that making some relatively minor changes to the look of the home will significantly change the way it feels for people working and living together, including their friends and relatives.”

Other plans include having items found in family bathrooms, such as sensory items, towels and tile motifs, creating a café within the home to provide an area for people to go with their family and friends, and painting hallways in bright colours to help with orientation around the home.

Dr David Sheard, chief executive of Dementia Care Matters, which is working with the council on the pilot, said: “Steering culture change in dementia care homes really matters. Good dementia care is all about providing good emotional care.”

Residents from Grove, Haxby Hall, Willow and Woolnough care homes will move to Burnholme. Residents from Morrell, Oakhaven and Windsor will move to Lowfield.