Deakin University

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People with dementia and the hospital environment: the view of patients and family carers

journal contribution
posted on 2014-03-01, 00:00 authored by Robin DigbyRobin Digby, Melissa BloomerMelissa Bloomer
BACKGROUND: A metropolitan geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) facility in Australia was undergoing expansion, and consideration for the needs of individuals with dementia and their family carers was identified as important in planning the new facility. Existing literature revealed that people in hospital value privacy, minimal noise, family amenities and homeliness, but these findings did not consider the perspectives of the person with dementia specifically. AIM: The aim was to elicit the perspectives of current inpatients with dementia, and their family carers, about the environment/design features that they believe are necessary for people with dementia, and their family carers. METHOD AND DESIGN: This qualitative study utilised in-depth semi-structured interviews to obtain information from current inpatients with dementia and their family carers. RESULTS: Participants described how the care received was more important than the physical environment; however, participants also valued homeliness, privacy for the patient and for conversations, a shared space without a television and a connection to the outside. Participants described how accommodating carers, providing quiet spaces and appropriate amenities were also important. CONCLUSIONS: While participants valued care over the physical surroundings, they also offered valuable information about their experience in the ward environment. Despite cognitive difficulties, people with dementia were able to provide useful information about the environment within which they were being cared. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Consumer opinions about hospital design/environment should be considered as an important source of data. Privacy and personal space for people with dementia and their family carers, a connection with the outside environment , and the needs of carers and visitors are all important considerations when designing healthcare environments.



International journal of older people nursing






34 - 43




London, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Wiley