We use evidence-based principles known to maximise wellbeing for those living with dementia. Good dementia design unobtrusively creates beautiful, yet practical, living spaces. A well designed physical environment can enhance the quality and enjoyment of life. In this way feelings of control, identity and independence are maintained and improved.
An Environment Audit is the starting point after we receive any new brief. We consider how the environment works from the aesthetic, functional and practical ongoing needs of the resident, their families, the staff and importantly, the organisation itself.
It has been established that a well-designed environment can reduce confusion and agitation, provide opportunities for engagement in meaningful activities, encourage interaction and promote independence. By incorporating some key design elements, we have been able to see first-hand how people living with dementia can gain more independence and live a much healthier and happier life.
Swancare's Kingia Care Facility in Bentley
PROJECT IN FOCUS
An award winning refurbishment of Swancare's Kingia Care Facility in Bentley is a wonderful example of the impact good design can have.
Improvement of behaviours:
- A majority of wanderers would all congregate at the door in the afternoon. This behaviour does not happen anymore.
- Wanderers now use the lounge to sit instead of pacing constantly up and down the corridor.
- More normalised setting with groups of 4 individuals sitting at tables during Bingo. Less institutionalised.
- Creative art by residents on the interactive wall creates observation and comment on each other’s creativity and a calm environment.
- A resident’s family member has commented on how much calmer the whole wing has become.
Impact on resident comfort and safety:
- Interactive technology in a passage with seating opposite has been extremely positive. One resident who never spoke, now talks of his deep sea diving days as a result of looking at the virtual wall of ocean and fish.
- Two female residents with disruptive behaviour now sit calmly 'theatre style' and watch the virtual wall. They are generally happier. The therapeutic benefit to residents is a source of comfort and pleasure.
- On an hourly basis, a male resident was frequently banging on the exit door near reception and calling out to be released. Since the refurbishment, which included disguising the exit door, this behaviour has not happened once.
- The falls rate since March 2014 shows some trending downwards. Interestingly, all residents in the unit during March 2014 were still there in March 2015, and were all still mobile. Prior to December 2014, five of those residents were frequent fallers and regularly sustained skin tears as a result, mainly due to wandering and restlessness. In January and February 2015, there were no falls in the unit and in March the three falls were all one resident. At the time of this reporting, other high falls risk residents had not fallen for almost three months.
Feedback and statistics supplied by Deborah Rose - Quality and Compliance Manager, Swancare Kingia.