Dementia Friendly Assessment Tools – What are they and why would I want to use them?

The environment in which we live and work impacts on our physical and psychological wellbeing. This impact can be positive and make us feel uplifted and comfortable, but it can also be negative. We know that for people with dementia an environment, be that the care home in which they live, their own home, or the dentist or doctor’s surgery they visit, can cause additional confusion and distress and have a significant detrimental effect on wellbeing.

So how do I know if the environment where I work is good for people with dementia?

ADS hosts a suite of dementia friendly assessment tools which were originally developed by The King’s Fund in response to the Dementia Strategy and the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The tools were developed using the best evidence available. On average 100-150 copies of the assessment tools are downloaded every month.

Ok, that sounds great, but why should I choose this assessment tool?

The aim of the assessment tools is to get you to think about the environment in a different way and help you to appreciate the impact that the environment can have on people with dementia. When you are working in the same environment every day, there are probably lots of things that you overlook and take for granted, but the tools encourage you to notice the details and be more objective. For example, the tools get you thinking about things such as lighting, décor, taps, crockery, signage, mirrors, noise, clutter, and many more.

The tools are quick and easy to use, and you can either complete them by yourself or with a bigger group to get different perspectives. By using one of the tools you will be able to get a measure of what your care environment is currently like. You can then make an action plan of areas to address based on your findings. Once you’ve put your plan into action and made changes you can use the tool to re-assess your care setting and see how your scores have changed. This will provide a record of your improvement that you can continue to build on over time.

And by the way, you can download any or all of them for FREE from our website, so why not have a look and see how they could help you.

So what do the assessment tools look at?

The assessment tools are straightforward documents containing seven sections that focus on different aspects of the physical and social environment. The sections have been informed by research evidence, best practice and feedback from those who have used the tools in practice, and draw on this evidence to develop a rationale for effecting change in care environments.

The sections may differ slightly depending on the care setting, but generally look at promoting and encouraging various aspects such as:

  • Meaningful interaction and purposeful activity
  • Well-being
  • Eating and drinking
  • Mobility
  • Continence and personal hygiene
  • Orientation
  • Calm, safety and security
  • Active engagement

Within each section there are several questions designed to prompt discussion about the environment in your care setting. Each question is scored out of 5 and there is space to summarise your scores, making it easy to identify where there is room for improvement.

Five versions of the tool exist for use in different care settings:

  • Care homes
  • Housing
  • Health centres
  • Hospitals
  • Wards

If you don’t think any of the versions we’ve got are appropriate for your care setting, we’re always happy to look at options for working with you to develop a bespoke version that meets your needs. Contact us at or 01905 542531

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