We are one of the very first chiropractic clinics to evaluate the design of our clinic environment, using a new tool, making changes that make it better for patients with dementia.
The number of people living with dementia who visit chiropractic clinics is increasing and the nature of clinic environments can make a big difference to the experience of people with dementia when they visit. The Royal College of Chiropractors recently commissioned a project, building on work by the King’s Fund, to create an assessment tool and guidance for chiropractic clinics. Cotswold Chiropractic was part of a small development group for the project and we carried out our clinic assessment using the very first pilot version of the tool.
We discovered that largely our clinic environment follows dementia-friendly design principles, but we did identify a number of things that we have done to help our patients with dementia feel more comfortable and oriented when they visit us, including:
- Painting our stair rail bright green - strong contrasting colours make rails and handles more easily visible, therefore safer
- Replacing signage to include arrows and images that point the way to the clinic
- Ensuring that signs in the clinic include both writing and pictures - this makes it easier for people with dementia to understand signs
- Placing signs on doors, rather than next to doors - this makes it easier for people with dementia to understand where they should go
- Providing a specialist dementia clock in our reception - clear indication of day of the week, date and time help orientation and reduce confusion
Our changes have been really well-received by our patients and we have realised that they improve the clinic environment not just for our patients with dementia, but also for patients who are visually impaired and for all patients who are visiting us for the first time.