Developing supportive design for people with dementia – supported by The King’s Fund

Developing supportive design for people with dementia — NHS Networks

These tools were deigned to support clinical and care staff, managers and estates colleagues, The King’s Fund has produced a range of resources to enable hospitals, care homes, primary care premises and specialist housing providers to become more dementia friendly.

The work that informed the initial development of the resources, the EHE dementia care programme, was funded by the Department of Health to support the implementation of the national dementia strategy and the prime minister’s “dementia challenge”.


How were the tools developed?

The tools have been informed by research evidence, best practice and more than 300 survey responses from the United Kingdom and abroad from people who have used the tools in practice. Each of the sections draws on this evidence to develop a rationale for effecting change in care environments. These rationales also address the visuospatial problems often associated with dementia.

The first assessment tool for ward environments was developed in collaboration with NHS trusts participating in The King’s Fund’s EHE programme. Since then more than 70 care organisations have been involved in field-testing the tools.

Tools were subsequently developed for general hospital environments and care homes. Following requests from the sectors, tools have now been developed for health centres including GP premises and for ‘housing with care’ to include extra care housing, retirement communities and sheltered housing.

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How the tools are being used

Evaluations of the tools indicate that they are being used to:

  • Assess progress in developing more dementia-friendly environments
  • Secure finance to improve the physical environment of care
  • Influence managers and estates/maintenance colleagues to support change
  • Educate staff and help change attitudes
  • Improve signage, flooring, lighting and colour schemes as part of maintenance programmes
  • Make small-scale improvements eg, purchasing coloured crockery.

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