Opportunity missed for better dementia care facilities?
Meredith Gresham from HammondCare’s Dementia Centre believes that a crucial opportunity may be missed to maximise the quality of life for people with dementia because evidence-based principles are overlooked in care facilities.
Meredith Gresham, senior design and research consultant for HammondCare’s Dementia Centre, believes that a crucial opportunity may be missed to maximise the quality of life for people with dementia because evidenced-based design principles are overlooked in the construction of new care facilities.
“While we can’t cure dementia, we can modify the environment of those living with dementia to make the most of the capacity they have,” Gresham says. She states that extensive research into dementia design has occurred for more than 20 years and that many principles are available that too often are not being incorporated into new facilities.
“Organisations continue to build hotel-style facilities with leisure in mind, whereas people with dementia need an environment where they can engage in familiar, productive activities. They need the opportunity to participate in ‘overlearned’ activities, such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, to give a sense of usefulness and accomplishment,” she states.
“We have known from research two decades ago that the ability to see the toilet from bed reduces incontinence by 70 percent, yet this design principle is often not implemented,” she adds. “Another example is the mistaken view that dim lighting is restful for residents despite research that tells us that increased lighting reduces confusion and anxiety and elevates mood for those with dementia.”
Dementia Design Schools are offered twice a year by HammondCare’s Dementia Centre to increase awareness of the best dementia design principles.