Ideas and Innovation – International Programme

Inspiration on dementia-friendly innovation for the Robert Bosch Foundation

Robert Bosch Stiftung, one of Germany’s largest philanthropic Foundations, approached DSDC in 2013 to support a large programme of investment to make hospitals dementia-friendly.

The Challenge

The Foundation was already working with DSDC in developing the innovative Virtual Hospital project due to be delivered in the autumn 2013. As part of their international investment programme Bosch now came to DSDC having already shortlisted a number of hospitals in Central Europe which had made the case for becoming genuinely dementia-friendly. Bosch was looking for something which stimulated innovative thinking based on evidence.

What DSDC Did

DSDC was commissioned to design a programme which used best practice in design and care to inspire 10 shortlisted hospitals to develop their own concepts for dementia-sensitive transformation. The three-day Study Tour was designed around a blend of interactive workshops, specialist briefing and selected site visits.

The final programme included:

  • workshops on dementia-friendliness in hospitals
  • intensive study on core design principles, pathways, care and the environment
  • design and technology in action using the Design and Technology Suite at Stirling
  • site visits to two hospitals, including examples of new build and adaptation projects
  • sessions on screening, pain, understanding stress and distress, nutrition and delirium
  • reflections on the dementia ward and the care bundle package (looking at the Wolverhampton experience)
  • delivery of education and skills development

Who Was Involved

The Tour involved not just the 20 participants invited to seek inspiration as part of the completion, but also members of the expert judging panel and from Robert Bosch Stiftung itself, as well as a journalist from Die Zeit, a quality German national newspaper .

The Tour was intensive, running over just three days in June 2013 – with even lunches being working sessions and with speakers at dinner exploring key issues such as how to change the culture of care in an acute setting.

“We had a great study tour and all the participants were very excited with what we learned. The hospitals we visited were extremely hospitable and kind to show us around. We were really impressed.” Janine Sterner, Robert Bosch Stiftung


The Study Tour enabled participants to

  • explore design and care issues with recognised world experts
  • understand the challenges in transforming care environments using evidence
  • examine first-hand examples of how design can contribute to care in different settings
  • learn together in a supportive and stimulating environment
  • think laterally and develop their own ideas

The value of the Study Tour should soon be visible in changes in hospitals in Central Europe based on a deeper understanding of what success looks like. DSDC aims to promote this also in the UK.

Why this Matters

“This type of innovative programme is something DSDC can pull together really well, using the full range of our design, care and clinical Associates to cover specialist topics, alongside the knowledge of our core team. We can cover a lot of different ground with equal skill and expertise”. Professor June Andrews