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

Digby, Robin and Bloomer, Melissa J. 2014, People with dementia and the hospital environment: the view of patients and family carers, International journal of older people nursing, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 34-43, doi: 10.1111/opn.12014.

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Title People with dementia and the hospital environment: the view of patients and family carers
Author(s) Digby, Robin
Bloomer, Melissa J.ORCID iD for Bloomer, Melissa J.
Journal name International journal of older people nursing
Volume number 9
Issue number 1
Start page 34
End page 43
Total pages 10
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2014-03
ISSN 1748-3735
Keyword(s) acute
sub-acute care
Summary 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.


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.


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.


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.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/opn.12014
Field of Research 1110 Nursing
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920210 Nursing
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Wiley
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