THE Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling has been shortlisted for the Health Service Journal 2012 Awards, in the category Improving Care with Technology.
The nomination is for DSDC’s Online Virtual Care Home which was officially launched by broadcaster, Sally Magnusson, in March 2012.
Director of DSDC, Professor June Andrews, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award. Since its launch in March this year, thousands of people have visited the DSDC website to access the Online Virtual Care Home so there is a clear need for this type of resource. We greatly encourage people to visit this site for a wealth of information and advice which is helping to transform lives.”
The Virtual Dementia House – http://dementia.stir.ac.uk/virtualhome – is an evidence-based, interactive online resource that illustrates key aspects of dementia-friendly design. The layouts of seven individual rooms are presented and, as viewers scroll across each room, information is displayed explaining how the features benefit a person with dementia.
The online service shows how living spaces – whether they are people’s own homes or care home settings – can be adapted to support the particular spatial and sensory needs of people with dementia.
The evidence shows that making often simple and inexpensive adaptations to the dwelling space of a person with dementia can mean independent living for longer. For instance, increasing the light levels may have a more beneficial effect than medication.
The winners of the Health Service Journal 2012 Awards will be announced on November 20 2012.
For further information please contact the DSDC on 01786 467 740.
Notes for editors
Growing numbers of people are developing dementia: about 800,000 are already affected in the UK, and that number is set to exceed 1.7million within 40 years. It is recognised that it is imperative that more people are supported to live well for longer in their own homes and that care homes and even hospitals are designed take their specific needs into account. This online design tool shows what can be done.
DSDC is a world-leader in the field of dementia-friendly design. Part of the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling, it has long been involved in researching dementia and has an international reputation for its design consultancy and audit services.
The Virtual Dementia House represents the fruit of 20 years of work by DSDC. It took one year to develop the resource – which involved the input of people with dementia and their carers. DSDC’s team of health and care practitioners, researchers, librarians and support staff, and associates of the Centre including an architect, a landscape architect, lighting engineer and a web editor all worked on the project
The project team worked tirelessly to develop the resource, which is based on evidence of benefit. Each room features key design points that compensate for the cognitive impairments that are a common feature of dementia. The presentation of the virtual rooms is deliberately straightforward so that even people with poor internet connectivity or slow computers can access the information. In the first three days after the resource was launched, 3,000 people from around the world visited the site, and new visitors discover it every day. Winning the HSJ ‘Improving Care with Technology’ award would help to boost awareness.