“How to make a Sensory Room for people living with dementia” – developing design guidance for health care practitioners

Jakob, Anke and Collier, Lesley (2015) “How to make a Sensory Room for people living with dementia” – developing design guidance for health care practitioners. In: Third European Conference on Design4Health 2015; 13 - 16 July 2015, Sheffield, U.K.. (Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Design4Health 2015) ISBN 9781843873853

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This paper reports the results of a recent study funded by the AHRC into the current provision of multisensory stimulation for people with dementia living in care homes, in particular the design of multisensory spaces - often referred to as ‘Sensory Rooms’ or ‘Multisensory Environments’ (MSEs). The investigation aimed to establish new knowledge from which coherent, user-centred design solutions supporting improved dementia care could be developed. Previous research has shown that the use of Sensory Rooms in dementia care has beneficial effects as a resource for meaningful engagement and they are established in many UK care homes. However, evidence suggests that they often fail to benefit the people with dementia resulting in staff becoming discouraged, perceiving the space of little value, and subsequently becoming unused. Sixteen care homes with some type of sensory space were recruited for a study. Data were collected using ethnographic methods including semi structured interviews with 32 care home staff and observations were made from the perspective of the person with dementia. Results suggested that existing Sensory Rooms had inadequate design, inappropriate set-up and poor facilitation by staff. A focus group workshop was conducted further exploring design and methods of multisensory stimulation with staff from 4 care homes. Based on these results, design criteria and recommendations were identified that can potentially improve accessibility for people with dementia, and published in a Guide book “How to make a Sensory Room for people living with dementia” (accessible online ). The Guide is a tool for health care practitioners, care home staff and carers enabling them to create a sensory environment that is appropriate for residents with dementia and their families.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Title: Third European Conference on Design4Health 2015
Organising Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Research Area: Art and design
Health services research
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (until 2017) > Design Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Anke Jakob
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 12:54
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2015 12:54
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/32355

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