Design for the Older Adult in the Acute Sector

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An Architects for Health Event held on Thursday 17 April 2008 at The Kings Fund, London

The purpose of the presentation/debate was to explore the issues and problems associated with the treatment and care of older people in an environment designed and operated with a younger population in mind.

There where four presentations with differing views and experience of looking after, or promoting the care of, older people in hospital.


  • Recognition of the special needs of the patient who may have dementia or limited physical capability and whose mental or physical well being must be addressed at the same time as medical or surgical treatment
  • Discussion and comparison of the merits or disadvantages of single rooms with multi-bed spaces – C of I, privacy, dignity, loneliness, fear, depression compared with companionship, shared care, stimulation etc.
  • Problems of mixed wards and inappropriate behaviour
  • Space standards – social spaces, storage.
  • Difficulties with and the precautions to be taken with the treatment of the older patient and their physical requirements.


Professor Russell Jones General Practice Principal of Chorleywood Health Centre. Director of the UKeHealth Association, and an Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems and Computing at Brunel University


Ann Noble Chair of Architects for Health

Dr Graham Lister Sociologist and Economist, senior associate of the Judge Business School, Cambridge and a visiting professor at London South Bank University & Rosemary Glanville Head of the Medical Architecture Research Unit (MARU), London South Bank University

Judith Torrington Reader in Architecture, School of Architecture of the University of Sheffield. Judith is a researcher specialising in the design of living environments for older people, with a special interest in design for people with dementia. Her research focus is on the contribution design can make to well-being and a good quality of life. She has developed several tools for the evaluation of older people’s living environments

Dr Mike Gill Medical Director of the Newham University Hospital NHS Trust since 2002 and a Consultant Geriatrician in the Trust since 1989

Richard Smith Vice President and Chairman of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists Professional Standards Committee


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