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Inpatient Wards: Single Patient Room Universal Design Technical Sketch

In this article, we'll assess the design elements of a dementia friendly single room within an inpatient ward.
Technical Sketch of a Universal Design Dementia Friendly Inpatient Ward Single Patient Room
Patient Rooms

Sleep disturbance is a factor for some people with dementia and can result in insomnia, nocturnal restlessness and wandering. In this regard, the bedroom must be designed to firstly help a person get a good night’s sleep, and secondly to provide a safe environment at night when a person wakes up to use the toilet, or to move around in their room.

The bedroom is also central to ADLs such as dressing, walking and grooming. The design of the bedroom can provide supports for these activities by making sure that the room is properly lit, and has wardrobes or dressing tables where the contents are fully visible and usable.

In line with the design of other patient spaces, good visual access, signage and large format clocks and calendars will help with navigation and orientation to time and place. Colour and tonal contrast will help patients to distinguish walls from floors, and to highlight doors or objects where you want to attract attention. Floor finishes should be consistent and uniform in colour, while good levels of evenly distributed natural and artificial light will help those with visual difficulties.

Colour and tonal contrast will help patients to distinguish walls from floors and to highlight doors or objects where you want to attract attention. Floor finishes should be a consistent and uniform in colour, while good levels of evenly distributed natural and artificial light will help those with visual difficulties.

Good visual access, signage and proximity to toilets will benefit patients, while views to the outside and large format clock and calendars will help with orientation to time and place

Single rooms
Single rooms provide many benefits in terms of privacy and personal space. A single room can also prove supportive for the accompanying person where a reclining chair, fold-away bed or couch can be provided. The creation of a ‘family zone’ is a recent development in this regard and involves a specific area, typically beside the window, fitted with a seating bench that in some cases can double as a bed. These family zones sometimes contain a designated visitor wardrobe or storage area that acknowledges the fact that an accompanying person may need to spend a considerable amount of time in the hospital, and that this supporting role is valued by the hospital and staff.

UD Dementia Friendly Design Guidance

A. Use large format signage, colour coding, or images to identify room entry on approach.

B. Use uniform colour flooring and avoid colour or tonal changes at thresholds.

C. Provide date and time clocks to improve temporal orientation.

D. Ensure key spaces such as toilets are clearly visible and easily identified.

E. Provide space beside beds for personal belongings.

F. Remove clutter from windows to ensure patients have a clear view to the outside.

G. If possible provide family or visitor zone within room. This will allow family members or an accompanying person to comfortably remain within the room for longer periods and not be in the way, or feel like they are getting in the way, of staff.

H. Provide good colour or tonal contrast between floors and walls to improve spatial perception for patients.

I. Provide uncluttered, safe and comfortable conditions for patient mobilisation within the room and ward. This will be enhanced by continuous handrails that are clearly visible to the patient.

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Dementia Inclusive Hospitals from a Universal Design Approach

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