The design of residential care facilities for people with dementia has become an area of increasing clinical, architectural and research interest (Kitwood 1997; Judd et al., 1998; Lawton, 2001). Less is known about day care design and about staff views of the adequacy of the social and built environment in which day care takes place.
This paper reports survey data on a study of 18 day centres providing dementia-specific care across the Republic of Ireland. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 77 practitioners (nurses-in-charge, care-staff and branch-managers).
The focus of the research was on examining staff views of the physical characteristics of day care settings, the effectiveness of day care, and staff views on the major benefits derived from day care attendance.
The research also explored staffs’ perceptions of how design features could be improved and their views on challenging behaviours, the suitability of certain clients for day care, staff training needs and the cost of care. Policy, practice and research implications emerging from the study are discussed. The paper argues for the need for guidelines in best practice in dementia day care to be established in Ireland.