A new joint report published today by Cardiff University and the University of Kent aimed “to identify, in a systematic way, the quality of dignified care experienced by older people” admitted to the acute wards of hospitals administered by the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS).  To do this, researchers “observed [care] practices on the wards and interviewed patients, families, ward staff and managers.” They found that “the majority of staff were concerned [with] provid[ing] dignified care to older people, but that care provision was variable.”  They thus concluded that there exists a “lack off dignity for older patients” in the acute wards of hospitals administered by the NHS.

The study went on to list five key areas that patients and workers identified as contributing to the lack of dignity:

  • Poorly-designed wards which were confusing and inaccessible for the elderly
  • Boredom through lack of communal spaces and activities
  • Concern about nearby patients of opposite gender
  • Demoralised staff who were also ill-equipped with the skills to care for the elderly
  • Organisational problems causing patients to be frequently moved within the system

All five areas identified by the study are key issues which aged care providers must continually manage.  However, the fact that the first three concerns expressed by the patients and workers at the participating hospitals relate to the ward’s built environment serves to highlight the importance of design in aged care.   Wards that are better designed for the needs of older patients, who constitute a growing portion of the world’s population, would serve to immediately address the top concerns identified by the study’s participants.

At IAHSA, we aim to promote and foment the learning and implementation of the best practices in ageing design.  To that end, we have created IAHSA’s International Design for the Ageing Programme, an international survey and exhibit of the state-of-the-art and trends in senior living design as represented by projects submitted from IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network. We invite design firms and aged care providers to submit a project that represents their contribution to the field of senior living design for consideration in the program.   All submissions will be analyzed by a multinational, multidisciplinary team, with findings presented at the International Design for Ageing Symposium at the IAHSA Global Ageing Conference/LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Washington DC in October 2011.

Dates to Remember: 

30 July 2011                      Call for Entries Submission Deadline
16 – 19 October 2011        IAHSA/LeadingAge Conference in Washington DC

Download the application by clicking here.

For more infromation:

Medical News Today

University of Kent