Young Onset
Dementia Project

Cardiff and Vale UHB: St Barruc Ward
and Cariad Unit at Barry Hospital

The RPB Supported an upgrade to the existing ward and day hospital space at Barry Hospital to provide an appropriate environment for patients diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 years (Young Onset Dementia). 

There are 14 beds on the ward for specialist care of up to 90 days and the day care centre can host up to a dozen people including carers for activities and treatment.

The ICF funding gave the ward and day areas new flooring, lighting and new furniture. It created a lounge with a café, Large TV room and beauty room. Outdoor areas such as the three courtyards, garden and summer house have been given a new lease of life. New wheelchair friendly paths lead to spaces for patients to participate in therapeutic activities in a safe outside environment. It is hoped a new gardening group will be set up within this space.

Young Onset Dementia can affect people much younger than 65, and the grant has meant a better use of space, creating a safer environment which leads to increased mobility and better physical health. Patients of this service are often more physically active and can now take part in group activities and find spaces for quiet reflection or enjoy music. The ability to move freely around the unit reduces the need for crisis management and costly dedicated support for specific individuals. 

Carers can use the retreat area to spend time with their loved ones, access professional advice and support, and attend carers groups to support one another and share their experiences.

The unit was planned in collaboration between health, local authority and third sector partner organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society, with whom the Young Onset team already have very close working relationships.

Mark Jones, Team Leader, said:

“Patients with early onset dementia sometimes have challenging behaviours and psychiatric symptoms which
are so severe that they cannot be managed at home or in care home placements.  

“There are also less severe cases of young people whose lives are changing after initial diagnosis. Their needs are different to hospital residents.  Often being stripped of their independence by removal of work, driving licence, parental responsibilities the service concentrates on their emotional well-being and that of their families. These individuals now have the benefit of being familiar with the team and environment at the Cariad Unit as they progress through their stages of early onset dementia.  

“Patients living with young onset dementia often move throughout the system, using community, day, respite and inpatient services. By developing a single service base, the staff are able to link with patients from every aspect of the service. Patients and carers become more familiar with the wider service, reducing their apprehension when and if the time comes for an inpatient stay. This increased familiarity will also assist the discharge process.”

“We consider this to be the first step in developing the service further to have an all-day service.”

Feedback from people who use the service:

“A very big thank you to all that you have done for X over the last year or so. I certainly didn’t expect to use your services as much as I thought. You have been there every step of the way and I cannot put into words how much we at home appreciate all that you do.”

“When my husband was referred to the Younger Onset Dementia Team, we only expected regular outpatient appointments. How wrong we were. 
The level of engagement across the various services has been outstanding.”

“We are so grateful the continuity of support works very effectively across all areas. The particular dementia workers that we have engaged with have all gone the extra mile to help my husband and I cope with the challenges we have been faced with.”

“We have been totally amazed at the level of support, response to specific needs and monitoring of situation,
so we always feel we have somewhere to turn. There is a real sense of support given, which is greatly appreciated. “ 

“Reassuring to know the service is there when needed.”

It is the service’s tenth anniversary this year. 54 members of staff work as part of the team including staff from other departments such as occupational therapists, dieticians and physios.

View some more of our Transforming spaces in Cardiff and Vale

CRI Chapel

East Cardiff

The former Chapel at CRI is being refurbished into a vibrant community hub for the residents in the south and east of Cardiff.

Smart House


The RPB has supported a complete overhaul of two houses in home young adults with a learning disability and associated conditions.

Trysor O Le 


Trysor O Le  ‘Gem of a place’ Barry Trysor O Le ‘Gem of a place’ is aptly named as the grants it has received from the ICF Fund have provided …

Our Priorities


We want every child in Cardiff and Vale to have the opportunity to thrive. Our work focuses on children in vulnerable situations and the services that support them.


We know how hard it can be to find help when people need it the most. We want to make sure there is community support to help people stay as healthy as possible so they can carry on doing the things that matter most to them.


As a Partnership we have worked together with people with a learning disability, their families, carers and the third and independent sector to produce a clear direction for the planning and delivery of adult learning disability services across the region over the next five years.

Case Studies

Alison Law 

   Improvement and Development Manager, Joint Commissioning 

  • Project management across the partnership to enable the alignment and joint commissioning of services, which includes shaping the market, regional commissioning strategies, contracting and quality assurance.
  • Programme manager for ICF Capital fund 

Meredith Gardiner 

Job Title

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Etiam in sem eros. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus.
  • Nunc gravida fermentum nibh, ac hendrerit enim ultricies a.
  • Nullam felis justo, gravida nec nibh sed, accumsan commodo dolor.
Skip to content