Objectives: To report on the views of people with dementia who live in care homes and their family carers on aspects of design that are important to them, and discuss these in relation to developing physical care environments that respond to the wishes of people with dementia and their family carers.
Method: Six focus groups were held: two in Northern Ireland and four in Scotland. A total of 40 people participated in the focus groups. Twenty nine people were with dementia (24 female and five male), and 11 were family carers (10 female and one male).
Results: Carers discussed the features of a building they took into account when selecting a care home, and discussed this in relation to ‘bricks and mortar versus people’. Key themes reported by people with dementia and their family carers included how the space in the environment is used, for example, what happens in the building and the presence or absence of certain design features. Outside space and wayfinding aids were identified as positive features of the home, along with a general lack of concern about ensuite provision.
Conclusion: The results demonstrate the complexity of building design as it must provide living space acceptable to people with dementia living there and family members who visit, as well as provide a workable environment for staff. The findings highlight areas that should be considered by care home teams involved in the build of a new home or the redevelopment of an existing care home.