Caregiving and dementia/Projects/Dementia education for aged care managers and architects

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This page describes a Dementia Training Study Centre project.
Dementia education for aged care managers and architects


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It is estimated that 75 facilities for people with dementia undergo design or major redevelopment each year in Australia and that a much larger number are re-furbished (Fleming, Fay & Robinson, 2011). Research has shown that a knowledge of evidence-based design principles results in measurably better facilities, with good design linked to a reduction in agitation and depression and improvements in social interaction, way finding and engagement in activities of daily living (Fleming, Crookes, & Sum, 2008; Fleming et al., 2011; Fleming & Purandare, 2010). It is therefore essential that those involved in the design and redesign of facilities for people with dementia are provided with timely, evidence based advice.

This project provided the information required to design high quality facilities at a time and in a manner that was of immediate assistance to those engaged in the design process. The project provided a consultancy and education service available to the aged and health care providers engaged in developing their services for people with dementia. It began in NSW, the ACT, Victoria and WA and grew into the other states by collaborating with other DTSCs.

The service objective was to provide education at exactly the right time by:

  1. Auditing plans prior to construction,
  2. Auditing facilities about to be re-modelled, and
  3. Engaging in systematic, educational discussions with the key stakeholders (e.g., managers and architects)

The Environmental design audit tool project provided an educational package and assessment tool that facilitated self-education on the design principles while guiding users through the systematic collection of information that can be used to make informed decisions on the remodeling of facilities. This project extended this by providing the opportunity for users of the package, and others, to discuss their project with a specialist from the NSW/ACT DTSC. This type of guided discussion with managers and architects involved in the design of facilities for people with dementia and found to be universally valued as a learning experience (Fleming et al. 2011).

A face to face service providing up to one day of education was provided where it was practical for the NSW/ACT DTSC specialist to visit the site or where the project managers and architects could visit the DTSC offices. The needs of regional and remote users engaged in remodeling facilities were met through the use of the iPhone application. This guided the user through a systematic evaluation of the existing environment and sent the results of the assessment to the NSW/ACT DTSC for analysis and report preparation. The report then formed the basis for a teleconference, preferably audio visual, during which the results were discussed systematically to provide the evidence-based information required for making informed decisions on the remodeling. A similar service was provided to people who preferred to send their plans into the NSW/ACT DTSC.

More information

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  1. Fleming, R., Crookes, P., Sum, S. (2008). A review of the empirical literature on the design of physical environments for people with dementia. Primary Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.
  2. Fleming, R., Fay, R., & Robinson, A. (2011). Identifying and overcoming the obstacles to using empirically supported principles in the design of facilities for people with dementia. Primary Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.
  3. Fleming, R. & Purandare, N. (2010). Long-term care for people with dementia: Environmental design guidelines. International Psychogeriatrics, 22(7), 1084-1096.