The effects of the indoor environment of residential care homes on dementia suffers in Hong Kong : a critical incident technique approach

Wong, Johnny Kwok-Wai, Skitmore, Martin, Buys, Laurie, & Wang, Kai (2014) The effects of the indoor environment of residential care homes on dementia suffers in Hong Kong : a critical incident technique approach. Building and Environment, 73, pp. 32-39.

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Dementia is an irreversible and incurable syndrome that leads to progressive impairment of cognitive functions and behavioural and psychological symptoms such as agitation, depression and psychosis. Appropriate environmental conditions can help delay its onset and progression, and indoor environmental (IE) factors have a major impact. However, there is no firm understanding of the full range of relevant IE factors and their impact levels.

This paper describes a preliminary study to investigate the effects of IE on Hong Kong residential care homes (RCH) dementia residents. This involved six purposively selected focus groups, each comprising the main stakeholders of the dementia residents’ caregivers, RCH staff and/or registered nurses, and architects. Using the Critical Incident Technique, the main context and experiences of behavioural problems of dementia residents caused by IE were explored and the key causal RCH IE quality factors identified, together with the associated responses and stress levels involved.

The findings indicate that the acoustic environment, lighting and thermal environment are the most important influencing factors. Many of the remedies provided by the focus groups are quite simple to carry out and are summarised in the form of recommendations to current RCHs providers and users.

The knowledge acquired in this initial study will help enrich the knowledge of IE design for dementiaspecific residential facilities. It also provides some preliminary insights for healthcare policymakers and practitioners in the building design/facilities management and dementia-care sectors into the IE factors contributing to a more comfortable, healthy and sustainable RCH living environment in Hong Kong.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 65705
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Dementia, Indoor Environment, Elderly, Residential Care Homes, Behavioural Problems
DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2013.12.001
ISSN: 03601323
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Building and Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Building and Environment, [73, (2014)] DOI
Deposited On: 06 Jan 2014 23:41
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2016 14:03

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