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Dr Ger Craddock looks at some of the benefits that Universal Design can offer

There are many benefits that Universal Design can offer to all, Dr Ger Craddock explores what can be achieved.

The application of Universal Design thinking to the hospital environment recognises our differences and accommodates them at the outset of the design and construction stages, by including the following:

  • Flexibility and ease of adaptability to meet peoples’ changing needs over time in a cost-effective way;
  • Sustainable design to improve comfort and energy efficiency; and,
  • Smart technologies to support independence and care delivery.

Universal Design is not about a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model – the Universal Design environment enables the widest possible number of people to participate in society, and to move about and operate independently. A universally designed hospital works well for everyone and supports the delivery of care for a wide range of people. It is mainstream in aesthetics, not separate or distinct for those with special needs, and is designed according to 4 key Principles:

  • Integrated into the neighbourhood;
  • Easy to approach, enter and move about in;
  • Easy to understand, safe to use and manage; and,
  • Flexible, cost effective and adaptable over time.

A hospital underpinned by these 4 key Universal Design Principles will provide a more naturally supportive environment for people living with dementia, their family members and hospital staff, as well as other groups.

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Dementia Inclusive Hospitals from a Universal Design Approach

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