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Is an Engaging or Soothing Environment Associated With the Psychological Well-Being of People With Dementia in Long-Term Care?

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Abstract

Purpose

To examine the relationship between environmental ambience and psychological well-being of persons with dementia.

Design

A secondary analysis was conducted using observational data with repeated measures. A total of 1,857 observations from 177 persons with dementia in 17 nursing homes and 6 assisted living facilities were included.

Methods

Psychological well-being was measured by observed displays of positive and negative emotional expressions. The environmental ambience was assessed by two subscales of the Ambiance Scale: Engaging and Soothing. Multilevel modeling was used to account for hierarchical structures in the data.

Findings

An engaging environment was associated with more positive emotional expressions after controlling for covariates. However, a soothing environment was associated with neither positive nor negative emotional expressions.

Conclusions

Results suggest that the environment is an important consideration for administrators and clinicians as they respond to the mandate to actively plan and provide care to persons with dementia.

Clinical Relevance

An environment that is relevant and interesting may promote a sense of well-being and support resident-centered care.

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