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Horizon makeover promotes calmness
Horizon makeover promotes calmness, improves safety ​
Posted on 03/01/2024

A Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care unit for older patients is looking even more vibrant these days.

The Horizon Program for Geriatric Psychiatry now boasts 14 large, colourful paintings of lively scenes and landscapes — a change designed to promote calmness, reduce boredom and improve safety.Horizon Mural

Ifat Witz is Clinical Director of the Acute Assessment/Swing Program, the Horizon Program for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the ECT Program. She said the paintings are part of a long-term plan to reimagine the space to match the caring, compassionate environment about which Horizon staff are already justifiably proud. In other words, less like a hospital.


“We are really creating a new type of recovery space,” said Witz, adding the transformation also included repainting the walls and bringing in new furniture.

“You can just see it transitioning in front of our eyes. It’s so beautiful, and it reflects the human element of all that we do.”

Patient safety was also considered with the clever camouflaging of exit points: an elevator plastered with colourful vines and a door painted to look like a coat rack.

There are other concrete benefits. Depth perception, for example, is aided by contrasting colours, which becomes more important as people age and their vision deteriorates. Patients having a meal on a dark table, for example, are less likely to see what they’re eating, so cream-coloured tables were purchased to improve food intake.

One of the new murals shows a canoe gliding across a placid, tree-lined lake; blues and greens have been shown to be calming and comforting. Other walls feature a traditional European market, a dazzling underwater tableau, and a fireplace in a cosy cottage.

Horizon is for people over 65 with signs and symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, as well as those under 65 with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The program provides a safe and secure environment that includes a day room, a secured patio area, a dining room, and rooms for therapy, activities and visiting.


What staff are saying

“I feel it definitely has brightened up the unit. The murals, the painting — I really like all of them. It shows how much we really care for our patients with all the work that has been completed.” — Sheri Wiedrick, Team Lead

“To call this a passion project would be an understatement. Teamwork and available resources were put to the test to make the beginning of a new vision come alive.” — Jen Reid, Recreation Therapist

“It’s been delightful seeing the Horizon program come alive over the past year. We have new colour, contrast and age-appropriate stimulation with new furniture and wall posters. It’s been a great team effort. I’m looking forward to more change in the future.” — Kate Thomson, Occupational Therapist