Enhancing the Healing Environment - Developing supportive design for people with dementia

The design of the built environment can significantly help in compensating for the sensory loss and cognitive impairment associated with dementia, as well as supporting the continued independence of people in hospital who have dementia. To support clinical staff and their estates colleagues, The King’s Fund has produced two new resources to enable hospitals to become more dementia friendly.

They have been developed in collaboration with NHS trusts participating in The King’s Fund’s Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme and informed by research and evidence of best practice. This phase of the EHE programme was funded by the Department of Health to support the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy.

The EHE Assessment Tool contains seven overarching criteria and a set of questions to prompt discussions. It has been informed by research evidence, reflects best practice and has been robustly and rigorously tested in a range of different hospital settings, including wards and out-patient departments. It is intended to be a guide and prompt for encouraging a review of the physical environment of care and to enable discussions about the way care is being delivered.

Although primarily designed for ward environments, the tool has also been successfully used in outpatient departments, assessment units and other clinical areas. The assessment can be repeated over time to see the degree of improvement that has been made.

Developing supportive design for people with dementia: design principles
These overarching design principles have been developed using the experience gained from the 23 trusts participating in the EHE programme to build on the evidence and international best practice in creating more supportive care environments for people with cognitive problems and dementia.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England