‘Dementia-friendly communities’ and being dementia friendly in healthcare settings

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review discusses the concept of ‘dementia-friendly communities’ and summarizes the latest research and practice around such communities. This review also highlights important topic areas to be considered to promote dementia friendliness in healthcare settings.

Recent findings

Definitions of ‘dementia-friendly communities’ reflect the contemporary thinking of living with dementia (e.g., dementia as a disability, equal human rights, a sense of meaning). Existing research has covered a wide range of topic areas relevant to ‘dementia-friendly communities’. However, these studies remain qualitative and exploratory by nature and do not evaluate how dementia-friendly communities impact health and quality of life of people living with dementia and their caregivers. In healthcare settings, being dementia friendly can mean the inclusion of people with dementia in treatment discussion and decision-making, as well as the provision of first, adequate and appropriate service to people with dementia at an equivalent standard of any patient, second, person-centered care, and third, a physical environment following dementia-friendly design guidelines.

Summary

Research incorporating more robust study designs to evaluate dementia-friendly communities is needed. Being dementia-friendly in healthcare settings requires improvement in multiple areas – some may be achieved by environmental modifications while others may be improved by staff education.

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