A picture of how design can improve care

Did Think Public design project lead Ella Britton really not understand the Kingston University Design Research Centre report on the design of care homes for people with dementia (News, DW 25 March)? She states that the study ’indicated a lack of engagement with the users’.

That’s just ridiculous. Britton clearly has not grasped the enormous and unique task which the research team undertook to fully research the issues on the ground, with the many residents, staff and relatives at 19 care homes over the past three years. Many of the residents were immobile and unable to communicate in any way, and for those people who weren’t in an advanced state of dementia we demonstrated plenty of
regular interaction.

Homes for people with advanced dementia must be new to Britton and her co-design principles, because she does the team a great disservice by being critical. We aimed to find out where design might make a difference for everyone, and only proposed a care home unit design after spending time with a large number of residents, managers and experts.

Along the way we have collated for the first time a broad picture of where design is a muchneeded tool for improving these homes.

Hilary Dalke, Professor of design, Design Research Centre, Kingston University, Kingston KT1 2QJ

Latest articles