The Role of Physical Environment in Supporting Person-centered Dining in Long-Term Care: A Review of the Literature

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The physical environment of dining rooms in long-term care facilities is increasingly recognized as an important catalyst in implementing a culture based on person-centered care philosophy. Mealtimes are important opportunities to support residents' personhood in care facilities. This article presents a critical review of the literature on evidence-based physical environmental interventions and examines their implications for creating a more person-centered dining environment, specifically for residents with dementia. The review identifies the role of a supportive dining environment to foster: a) functional ability, b) orientation, c) safety and security, d) familiarity and home-likeness, e) optimal sensory stimulation, f) social interaction, and g) privacy and personal control. It is clear from this review that there is a growing body of research to support the importance of certain physical environmental features in the dining context that can foster positive resident outcomes. The evidence indicates that well-designed physical settings play an important role in creating a person-centered dining environment to support best possible mealtime experience of residents. Gaps in the literature and directions for future research are discussed.

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