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Continuing Professional DeveloPment
surroundings or confronted with a
multitude of interactions and choices.
Rather, the scale should help the person
feel in control.
Opportunities to be alone or with
others – people with dementia need to
be able to choose to be on their own or
spend time with others. This requires the
provision of a variety of spaces, some for
quiet conversation with one or two
others as well as spaces where people
can be by themselves. These internal and
external spaces should have a variety
of characters, to cue the person to what
is available and stimulate different
Allow movement and engagement –
confused wandering can be minimised
by providing a well-defined pathway that
guides people past points of interest and
gives them opportunities to engage in
activities or social interactions.
Stimulus reduction – because dementia
reduces the ability to filter stimulation
and focus on only those things that are
important, a person with dementia can
become stressed by prolonged exposure
to large amounts of stimulation.
The environment should be designed
to minimise exposure to stimuli that
are not helpful. The full range of senses
must be considered. Too much visual
stimulation, for example, is as stressful
as too much auditory stimulation.
Stimulus enhancement – enabling
people with dementia to see, hear and
smell things that give them cues about
where they are and what they can do,
can help to minimise their confusion
and uncertainty. Consideration needs
to be given to providing redundant
cueing, i.e. providing a number of
cues to the same thing, recognising
that what is meaningful to one person
will not necessarily be meaningful
to another. Cues need to be carefully
designed so that they do not become
Creating a dementia-
When creating a dementia-friendly
pharmacy, there are a number of aspects
of a visit to a pharmacy that need to be
• walking through the car park to
• approaching the pharmacy entry
• the entry space
• route to the destination
• destination (e.g. dispensary, counter)
• route from the destination
• exit space
• journey back to the car park
A recent project, funded by Alzheimers
Australia and the UNSW-based
Dementia Collaborative Research Centre,
aimed at gaining a better understanding
of the nature of dementia-friendly
communities. As part of this project,
a number of pharmacies in suburban
and regional Victoria were visited and
some common issues were identified.
One of the pharmacists, Alvin Narsey
(BPharm) at PharmaSave (Union Square
SUPPORTiNG PHARMACy PRACTiCE
figure 1. view to shopping centre entry
with cars obscuring views.
• Is it easy to identify the pharmacy
from the car park?
• Can the entry be easily seen?
A pharmacy needs to be easily
seen from the car park/bus stop,
so that people with dementia can
identify where they need to go.
Inevitably, the pharmacy will need
to compete with other businesses/
uses for prominence, which can make
this difficult, as seen in this example.
The entry or the way to the entry also
needs to be clearly visible.
figure 2. direct view to dispensary upon
entry, and view to cash register and exit on
• Is it easy for a person to see where
they need to go – for example, to the
pharmacist, to pay, or to leave?
• Is there a clear route to follow to these
It is important when a person enters
the pharmacy that the destinations he/
she is seeking are clearly visible. This
can be achieved by creating a clear
route to each of the likely destinations
(such as the entry and exit, pharmacist
and cash register) so that these places
are immediately obvious. Signage
needs to be targeted and focused so
that important information stands out.
It is important to reduce the number of
additional objects and the amount of
other information that can ‘clutter’ the
view and distract or confuse.
Directing people to certain points
within the pharmacy can also have
a range of benefits. In this example,
the relocation of the cash register to
this location as part of the renovations
will make it easier for a person living
with dementia to see it and the way
out, but all customers are guided
past the cash register on leaving the
premises, which is a retail advantage.
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