Dementia friendly Irish hospitals: Opportunities, barriers, costs and solutions

Hospitals can be very complex and confusing environments for people with dementia, and may add to their distress, disorientation and suffering. To date, academic and pragmatic discourse on dementia-friendly design of Irish hospitals has been lacking in expertise from the perspective of design and architecture, and in particular the paradigms of inclusive/universal design.
This research will examine the key issues around the design of dementia-friendly hospitals in Ireland to identify key opportunities, barriers, costs and solutions. This will be conducted using mixed methods research underpinned by a user-centred design and stakeholder engagement process in Tallaght Hospital, Peamount and Naas Hospitals. This process will be informed by previously published work and observations of from other international studies of dementia friendly hospitals, to determine best practice, evidence based design for hospitals. The physical hospital environment will be analysed using spatial and physical design framework based around: Approach and Arrival; Entering, Exiting and Circulation; Key internal and external spaces; and Elements and Systems (including materials, finishes, technology, artwork etc.)
The final output will result in a Dementia Friendly Design Manual and Key Findings to underpin any future HSE guidelines, containing 1) guidance around stakeholder engagement or participatory design processes 2) a preliminary Ireland specific dementia friendly hospital audit tool: these will assist in making hospital environments more dementia-friendly. The research grouping of design, arts and health is unique in Ireland, and could provide international as well as national impact on dementia-friendly design.


Award Date
25 June 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Desmond O'Neill
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Applied Research Projects in Dementia