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Environmental design expert visits Baptistcare residential care facilities

Our residential care facilities were privileged to host a visit from Kirsty Bennett, Manager of Environmental Design Education Service at Dementia Training Australia.

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Environmental design expert visits Baptistcare residential care facilities

15 December 2017

News | Aged Care Homes

Our residential care teams were privileged to host a visit from Kirsty Bennett, Manager of Environmental Design Education Service at Dementia Training Australia.

Kirsty is an architect specialising in the design of living environments for people living with dementia. Kirsty has spent many years researching and working in aged care environments, and helped develop the Environmental Assessment Tool with Professor Richard Fleming.

The Environmental Assessment Tool helps organisations consider how residents are experiencing their environment and identify opportunities for enhancement based on ten key design principles:

  1. Unobtrusively reduce risks
  2. Provide a human scale
  3. Allow people to see and be seen
  4. Reduce unhelpful stimulation
  5. Enhance helpful stimulation
  6. Support movement and engagement
  7. Create a familiar space
  8. Provide a variety of spaces to be alone or with others
  9. Provide links to the community
  10. Design in response to vision for way of life.

Kirsty spent four days visiting Baptistcare David Buttfield Centre and Gracehaven providing education and advice regarding our residents’ living environments, with plans to visit more residential care facilities next year.

Amanda Adams, Baptistcare’s Dementia Innovation & Allied Health Consultant, said the visit helped demonstrate a systematic way of looking at the built environment and allowed staff to understand what changes can be made to benefit residents.

“We might think there is little that will make a difference to the buildings we have, but Kirsty was able to help our team see that simple things – like repositioning furniture or removing unnecessary notices – can have an immediate effect,” Amanda said.

Amanda is conducting audits at several residential care facilities and working closely with Kirsty and her team to make environmental improvements across Baptistcare. Staff at each facility will then develop plans to implement the improvements through a series of workshops.

Environmental changes at Baptistcare Gracehaven

Dining Room

Previously the dining room was used sporadically and many residents ate their meals in their own rooms.

The space now looks more inviting and elegant, enticing the residents out of their rooms to eat meals at these tables and socialise with other residents.

Lounge Room

Previously, the lounge room was not designed as an area for relaxation and socialising. Since Kirsty’s visit, equipment has been relocated and the existing furniture has been arranged to invite residents to come in and sit down.

More help for our environments

As part of the Regional Partnership Projects currently underway at Baptistcare Mirrambeena, Moonya, Kalkarni and Dryandra, environmental audits have been undertaken by the Alzheimer’s Association. An environmental design consultant has begun working with teams to identify the potential for positive changes and to develop a vision based on the key design principles that will guide future facility refurbishments and maintenance programs.

Each facility has been awarded a grant of $30,000 to enable some significant improvements with exciting changes expected going forward.

Click here for more information about residential aged care at BaptistCare.