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Towards more elder friendly acute hospitals : study 2 : the elder friendliness of the physical environment of medical and surgical units in the Fraser Health Authority - final report

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The purpose of Study Two of the Towards More Elder Friendly Acute Hospitals Project, entitled "The Physical Environment of Medical and Surgical Units in the Fraser Health Authority," was to determine the elder-friendliness of the physical environment in a sample of existing medical and surgical units in the Fraser Health Authority. For purposes of this study, "elder-friendly" was defined as having environmental design features that are considerate of the special safety, physical, social, and psychological needs of older adults. While it is generally assumed that the physical environment of hospitals in most jurisdictions, including the Fraser Health Authority, are not elder-friendly, it was considered important to empirically establish that this was indeed the case. We hypothesized that existing medical and surgical units meet only minimal compliance with "elder-friendly" design guidelines as outlined in the chronic/long-term care literature. Data gathered in Study Two support this hypothesis, and provide information on what are typical physical environmental features of medical and surgical units in the Fraser Health Authority. The study highlights priority areas in which renovations should be undertaken if Fraser Health wishes, at some future date, to better preserve and support older patients' functional ability. The primary and more immediate goal of Study Two, was to provide information that, when combined with information from Study One and the longterm care design literature, would enable the study team to proceed to Study Three. In Study Three, "typical" versus more "ideal" units will be compared in terms of their elder-friendliness. Findings from Study One are the subject of a separate report and will not be discussed here.
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