Evidence-based facilities design in health care: a study of aged care facilities in Australia
Fleming, R and Fay, R and Robinson, AL, Evidence-based facilities design in health care: a study of aged care facilities in Australia, Health Services Management Research, 25, (3) pp. 121 - 128. ISSN 0951-4848 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Many facilities for people with dementia have been built with little translation of the substantial body of evidence available to inform design. Knowledge translation has been described as a four-stage process: awareness, agreement, adoption and adherence. This paper identifies where knowledge translation fails in the design of aged care facilities for people with dementia. Ten aged care facilities were audited using the Environmental Audit Tool. Senior managers and architects involved in the facility design were then interviewed to ascertain their knowledge of evidence-based principles of dementia design, their agreement with the principles and the nature of the obstacles they had encountered in their implementation. All architects claimed at least partial awareness of the design principles. Five facility managers claimed full awareness. Those facilities designed with the input of managers who were fully aware of the principles were of significantly higher design quality. There was little agreement on the significance of other obstacles. Once aged care providers are aware of the principles, they appear to find ways to implement them. If the next generation of residential aged care facilities is to be suitable for people with dementia, the facility managers must be made aware of the available design principles, architects encouraged to be more active in sharing their knowledge and ways found to improve the exchange of knowledge between the parties.