How B.C.’s Leading Care Providers are Implementing Dementia-Friendly Care Practices

Did you know an estimated 64% of long-term care residents in British Columbia are living with dementia?

BC Care Providers Association, the Alzheimer Society of B.C., and Simon Fraser University Department of Gerontology has conducted extensive research to explore best practices in dementia-friendly care and support safety and quality of life for people living with dementia residing in long-term care.

Changes to the Physical Environment

Creating safe, accessible, and supportive physical environments has positive effects on the well-being of people living with dementia, including helping them stay oriented, improving daily activities, promoting independence and meaningful activity, reducing anxiety, agitation and falls, and helping staff provide person-centred care.

Innovative care providers in B.C., such as The Village Langley, are designing their homes around best-practice principles to ensure optimized physical environments that support those living with dementia while maximizing independence, safety, and quality of life. For instance, simple and intuitive layouts, distinct rooms, and shorter hallway lengths that minimize distance and promote access to common social spaces can help increase residents’ independence and social engagement.

Many care homes are also adopting innovative practices such as creating memory boxes containing meaningful items such as photos of loved ones or souvenirs, which can help residents with their daily living activities by assisting them to identify their rooms while also increasing comfort.

Likewise, using signs with a combination of words and images in common spaces can help with wayfinding by helping residents identify the function or activity associated with rooms throughout the home, helping to maintain their independence.

Prioritizing Staff Training

Another important element of adopting dementia-friendly best practices in care homes focusses on staff training and education initiatives that influence how staff provide support for residents living with dementia.

In B.C., staff training programs focused on the delivery of person-centred care promote effective communication strategies to ensure positive outcomes for both residents and their family members, and support care teams with evidence-based information and practices to support the delivery of best care practices for people living with dementia.

Shifting Care Culture

Promoting dementia-friendly care practices also includes challenging conventional care notions and focussing on positive resident outcomes by promoting open communication among care teams, and empowering staff members through ongoing training and education opportunities so they can best support the residents they provide care for.

Learn More

This article is based on a report exploring best  practices in care homes for people living with dementia, Dementia-Friendly Care Homes: Best Practices in Dementia Care (2020), released by the BC Care Providers Association, the Alzheimer Society of B.C., and the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University.

Learn more about this research initiative here.

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