DSDC has just been awarded “runner up” in a national award ceremony which recognises inspirational websites and online projects which are really making a difference.
The Virtual Care Home, an online resource hosted in the DSDC website, was honoured at the Nominet Awards held in July 2013. The Nominet Awards celebrate the best projects that help support the digital economy or make the internet a safer, more secure and trusted space for everyone online.
Professor June Andrews, Director of the DSDC explains more about the project;
“We have a world class exhibition of design and technology that supports people with dementia and their carers at the iconic Iris Murdoch Building in Stirling – which is great if you are coming to Scotland but not very realistic for the rest of our audience around the world.
“We love visitors, but to be practical we needed to make the information and ideas, which are all based on research evidence and international best practice, available more widely. The exhibition has about 1,000 visitors on average each month, and there is an electronic tour guide which was donated to the Centre when staff just could not cope any more with the numbers of personal visitors. But that still was not reaching far enough.”
The solution? An online Virtual Care Home that demonstrates the design features that matter. Initially a complex walk-through visual was conceived, but it became clear that many in the audience don’t have the technology to handle that, so the idea was pared down to a simple room scenario, with information points that open up when the mouse hovers over it.
The Virtual Care Home is part of the DSDC’s website, which is an authoritative independent source of information on how to improve dementia services supported by the Dementia Services Development Trust. It is backed up by a library and information service, bookshop and free downloadable material, and the expertise of the Centre’s architects, engineers and dementia design experts.
In the first few days after the launch over 3,000 people visited the site. Compared with some commercial sites this might seem small, but the design of care homes for people with dementia is a relatively narrow field, and that audience came from all over the globe.
This initial project has gone down so well that the DSDC has received funding from the Robert Bosch foundation in Germany to start to build a virtual dementia friendly hospital – a free resource that can be used by hospital designers anywhere.