Environmental Assessment Tool (EAT)

Is your environment dementia friendly?

The Environmental Audit Tool helps you assess the quality of residential care environments for people with dementia. It is useful for researchers and professionals.

It measures information about these characteristics:

  • Safety
  • Size
  • Visual access
  • Reduction of unhelpful stimulation
  • Enhancement of helpful stimulation
  • Provision of outside areas and wandering paths
  • Familiarity
  • Opportunities for privacy and community
  • Links to the outside community
  • Opportunities for engagement with ordinary life

The tool is part of the Environmental Design Kit developed by Dementia Training Australia (formerly the Dementia Training Study Centres). It includes a handbook. The EAT also comes as an app.

This app guides you through the Environmental Audit Tool and also invites you to photograph key parts of the environment and send your data to an expert consultant.

A report will be emailed to you, comparing your facility with others, and identifying areas for improvement. You will also be invited to discuss your results with an expert in the design of facilities for people with dementia.

This service is provided FREE OF CHARGE for clinical and design consultancies by Dementia Training Australia (supported by the Australian Government). Consultancies for research purposes should contact the team.

Authors: Prof Richard Fleming, Dr Lyn Phillipson

Partners: University of Wollongong, Dementia Training Australia

News & Publications:

Background:

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.

A review of principles and available tools informed the development and modification of an environmental audit tool of proven utility.

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.

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.

Discover more about the research project