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Developing smart, dementia-friendly signage

School of Engineering and the Built Environment

About the Project

Research Group: Built Environment Research Group

Proposed supervisory team: Dr Federica Pascale (), Dr Alison Pooley ()

Theme: Assisted living

Summary of the research project:

With the publication of “Living well with dementia: A National Dementia Strategy” in 2009, Dementia became a UK national priority, and in 2012 the UK was the first country to make Dementia a national challenge.

From the results of the 2012 The National Dementia Capital Investment Programme “Improving the environment of care for people with dementia, launched by the Department of Health, it emerged that way finding and signage were among the primary concerns of both the health and social care projects across the country, as being key elements of the built environment to support people living with Dementia. Conversely, there was very little consensus on the design of dementia-friendly signage. Previous research has also demonstrated the importance of way-finding on the quality of life of people living with dementia. However, the current body of knowledge has limitations in terms of methods; discernment between the effect of environment and of staff treatment activities; the different stages of the disease.

This project aims to develop Evidence-Based Smart Dementia-Friendly Signage for health and social care environments, which can potentially lead to the development of Smart Dementia-Friendly signage to be used in health and social care settings.

The project main objectives are:

1. Investigate current challenges related to way-finding for people living with dementia in social and healthcare environments and the state of art of dementia signage and smart signage

2. Benchmark and challenge current signage design for people living with dementia

3. Develop Smart signage prototypes for different environments

4. Test and validate prototypes through the use of case studies.

The project will involve a wide range of stakeholders including: healthcare and social care managers and staff, designers and architects, people living with dementia and carers and providers of dementia specific signage. The project will involve extensive desk work (objectives 1); case study field work (objective 2 and 4) and design/development work (object 3). The project will benefit from the collaboration with a number of UK care/nursing homes, hospitals and day centre who will act as case studies and provide data to build a knowledge base for the project.

Where you’ll study: Chelmsford


This project is self-funded. Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps:

If you wish to be considered for this project, we strongly advise you contact the proposed supervisory team. You will also need to formally apply for our Built Environment PhD. In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

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