Exploring staff perceptions on the role of physical environment in dementia care setting

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Abstract

This study explored staff perceptions of the role of physical environment in dementia care facilities in affecting resident's behaviors and staff care practice. We conducted focus groups with staff (n = 15) in two purposely selected care facilities in Vancouver, Canada. Focus group participants included nurses, care aides, recreation staff, administrative staff, and family. Data analysis revealed two themes: (a) a supportive physical environment contributes positively to both quality of staff care interaction and residents' quality of life and (b) an unsupportive physical environment contributes negatively to residents' quality of life and thereby makes the work of staff more challenging. The staff participants collectively viewed that comfort, familiarity, and an organized space were important therapeutic resources for supporting the well-being of residents. Certain behaviors of residents were influenced by poor environmental factors, including stimulation overload, safety risks, wayfinding challenge, and rushed care. This study demonstrates the complex interrelationships among the dementia care setting's physical environment, staff experiences, and residents' quality of life.

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