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Building design for people with dementia: a case study of a UK care home

Lee H. Fisher (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK and The Orders of St John Care Trust, Witney, UK)
David John Edwards (Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK and University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Erika Anneli Pärn (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Clinton Ohis Aigbavboa (University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 8 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the impact that building design has upon the quality of life for residents of a care home who have dementia. To present a balanced perspective, carers within the care home also participate in the research.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study methodological approach was adopted using one care home, ten residents and five staff as a sample frame. During interviews conducted, participants were asked semi-structured questions on how building design features impact upon the quality of life of residents. Questions posed focussed upon key design principles that emerged from a detailed review of extant literature.

Findings

Building design for people with dementia must consider a complex array of features to provide a safe and habitable living space for residents and family members who visit. This living space must also be suitably utilitarian and provide a workable environment for staff. Hence, an appropriate balance between these two competing requirements must be attained, and often a tailor-made solution is required that fits the individual’s level of dementia. Three prominent areas that study participants expressed a desire for were a safe environment; support for wayfinding, orientation and navigation; and access to nature and the outdoors.

Originality/value

The work reports upon the rarely discussed issue of building design for people with dementia and could be used by policymakers and construction firms to enhance their knowledge capabilities in this area. The research concludes with direction for future research which should seek to provide more evidence-based research vis-a-vis perception enquiry and extend this seminal work to a larger sample of care homes or people with dementia living at home.

Keywords

Citation

Fisher, L.H., Edwards, D.J., Pärn, E.A. and Aigbavboa, C.O. (2018), "Building design for people with dementia: a case study of a UK care home", Facilities, Vol. 36 No. 7/8, pp. 349-368. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-06-2017-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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