Architectural design solutions may hold the key to improving the way that we deliver lifetime care to people with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.
It is known that improved environments and dwellings can impact on the quality of life experienced by their residents. Architectural solutions can increase perception of liberty and self-reliance, reduce frustration and behavioural concerns, increase community interaction and broader society integration, and reduce attendant care costs.
This project is intended to identify effective design strategies to improve accommodation outcomes for people who have sustained an spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury.
Best practices for design
A pilot study, ‘Design Contributions to Lifetime Care’, led to a comprehensive discussion paper prepared by Monash University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. The research team conducted scoping research into best practice case studies of supported living models that demonstrate how architectural and urban design strategies can influence the quality and performance of dwellings that are occupied by people with disabilities.
The discussion paper analyses a selection of high quality examples designed specifically for or highly relevant to people requiring support in their everyday living routines. In so doing, it seeks to make a bridge between best practice architecture/urban design and the user experience to create a holistic approach to supported living.
Towards a holistic home modification design process
Using the design principles developed by looking at best practice assisted living design examples worldwide and published in the Best Practice Discussion Paper, the team from the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture worked with three people with an acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury and their primary carers and family members. The research team visited the people in their homes where a semi-structured interview of the key participant and their relevant family members/primary carers was recorded. Their homes were also photographed, analysed and measured.
Proposals for holistic design strategies were developed which took into account the individual interests and values and future hopes of the participants and the specific difficulties of their environments posed for them. The proposals are published as a collection of case studies.
SmILE (Smart Independent Living Environments)
This project was initiated as part of ISCRR's SmILE (Smart Independent Living Environments) research theme. SmILE is an initiative started by ISCRR to deliver first priority of ISCRR's Neurotrauma Research Strategy developing improved models for the provision of lifetime care to clients of the Transport Accident Commission and WorkSafe Victoria.