Objective: To determine to what extent the care home environment met the requirements of residents with dementia in the context of the views of managers, family carers and staff, and a standard environmental assessment.
Methods: Sixty participants joined focus groups to give their views, and the managers of all five care homes were interviewed. An environmental assessment of each home was carried out using the Sheffield Care Environment Assessment Matrix (SCEAM).
Results: The most common themes identified from the residents and carers groups were the need for activities and outings, staffing levels, and staff training, attitudes and commitment. Managers felt comfort and homeliness were most important features whilst staff rated health and safety highest. Care homes scored well on the SCEAM for health and safety, and comfort, however key aspects such as activities and staff factors were not covered by the tool.
Conclusion: Care homes may be designed and organised according to the priorities of staff and managers rather than the needs of residents and family carers. Service planners need to be aware of this discrepancy and consider the views of residents.