This study presents results from a practice-initiated intervention of the interior setting in a residential care home, RCH, outside of Stockholm, Sweden. In the wake of the Swedish governmental initiative “Growing old, Living well” in 2012, the Administration for Social
Welfare and Health, ASW, at the City of Stockholm received partial funding for an intervention project, implemented as changes of the interior design of a RCH unit for 25 residents. This unit was situated on the ground floor in a four storey building; a refurbished hospital building from the 1950s. The project revolved around two situations that older residents regularly meet in a RCH setting; Firstly, the meal situation, which takes place in the dining room and the adjacent area for coffee or tea; secondly, the leisure situation, which involves distraction and socializing activities. The development of a set of essential environmental changes involved representatives of the municipal administration along with the ones of the private eldercare entrepreneur, experts in interior design and lighting, and smaller group of users, i.e. the residents and their relatives. However, the project started without a baseline assessment of existing conditions, hence, complicating a direct evaluation of the impact of interior changes.
In consequence, this evaluation had to be realized as a multivariate analysis, which compared previous conditions with the changed interior setting. Triangulating research methods were used: interviews, observations, mini-questionnaires along with the Therapeutic Environment Screening Scale for Nursing homes instrument, TESS-NH. The TESS-NH assessments involved a group of 10 evaluators. The qualitative and quantitative assessments of the interior changes suggested a positive effect, and most users, residents, relatives or members of the staff, appreciated the new setting. Due to the lack of a baseline assessment, these experiences are difficult to correlate with particular changes in the interior setting. However, two factors appear as decisive for the successful outcome of the project: firstly, the development of a preliminary set of changes in the indoor design, conceived by spatial experts, and, secondly, the involvement of user representatives in the evaluation of the suggested ideas before implementation.
Helsinki, 2014. 199-223 p.
Intervention in interior setting, residential care home, user participation, expert advice