A person-centred approach to the design of secure dementia units is the aim of a new resource released by the Ministry of Health in August. For some living with dementia, living in a secure dementia home is their only option and it is important to help make the quality of life of older people in secure dementia care homes as good as possible. “Older people with dementia need close and continued contact with the real world. Things that enrich their lives such as plants and animals. At the same time they need to be monitored and protected all the time,” said Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu Iiga in welcoming the release of the document.
The Ministry makes it clear that the information resource is intended to help those planning new developments or major reconfigurations to include the latest ideas and data in their planning. It is not intended to be a formal guideline and will not be included in the audit process.
The Secure Dementia Care Home Design Information Resource document has been developed together with a wide range of those involved with research, design and the practice of residential care for those with dementia. The vision of creating a sense of ‘homeliness’ is important with emphasis on gardens and outdoor environments, appropriate size of care units, use of colour and contrast, lighting and sunlight, as well as managing environmental stimulation, memory aids and floor plans to assist memory, as well as seeking to maintain family and community links through environments that are inviting to family and friends.
This fantastic resource is a must-read for anyone working dementia care, and although it is focused on the high end of secure dementia care, it offers good ideas for all those working with older people living with dementia.