Specialized Care Unit: Family and Staff Perceptions of Significant Elements

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Specialized care units (SCUs) for nursing home residents with dementia are increasingly prevalent. Although reported to promote positive resident outcomes, the specific characteristics of SCUs most likely to yield these outcomes have not yet been identified. This article presents the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the perceptions of family members and staff about SCU characteristics that contribute to positive outcomes for residents with dementia. All family and staff members interviewed agreed that the SCU fostered feelings of personal space, personhood, and an unforced routine. These findings are discussed and provide specific direction for care of nursing home residents with dementia.

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