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Evaluation of the reliability of a tool for the assessment of the enabling/disabling features of public buildings and public spaces used by people with dementia

Prof Richard Fleming, Dr Lyn Phillipson
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution University of Wollongong
Project Description

Alzheimer's Australia, Kiama Council and the University of Wollongong undertook a project to lay the foundations for Kiama becoming a dementia friendly town. This project required the development of an audit tool to evaluate the enabling/disabling features of the public buildings and spaces used by people with dementia. Alzheimer's Australia funded the development of a prototype tool and the DCRC funded the refinement of the tool carried out by means of an evaluation of its inter-rater reliability.

A 3 step process was carried out to develop and establish the reliability of the tool.

  1. A review of principles and available tools informed the development and modification of an environmental audit tool of proven utility. 
  2. The draft tool was subjected to an iterative process of evaluation by a team of people with expertise in design and town planning, people with dementia and their carers. 
  3. Inter-rater reliability and internal consistency were assessed on a sample of 60 public and commercial buildings.

The resulting tool has high inter-rater reliability and internal validity. The data gathered enabled a sample of banks, libraries, shops, medical facilities, supermarket and council offices to be compared.

The new tool aids the collection of reliable information of use in the design or refurbishment of public and commercial buildings to improve their support of people with dementia.

Featured on our 
Knowledge Translation hub
CLICK HERE to access and download the Dementia Friendly Community –
Environmental Assessment Tool (DFC-EAT)
Handbook and Scoring Template.


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