Exemplars of dementia design: Westella Homestead

Photo of the large main building, which sits on a larger lawn.
Westella Homestead Rest Home with its expansive lawn and garden area which are open to residents to wander and explore.

Established in 1984, Westella Homestead Feilding provides services for people with dementia and mental health, intellectual or behavioural support needs. The facility is on seven half acres of park-like gardens.

External doors are not locked, there are no enclosed courtyards, and residents are free to explore the space and outdoor environment.

Photo of the outer edge of the lawn, which is edged by bush.
This is a free to roam area. The mature bush and gardens hide security features.
Photo of the entrance to the Orchard Path, which winds through the bush.
For the explorer pathways meander through the bush with security features still hidden.

The rural aspect of the home provides an environment with extensive gardens and outdoor spaces where the security measures cannot be seen, and stresses or environmental stimulation (noise, traffic) is virtually eliminated. Boundary fences are hidden by natural bush and entry and exit gates are not visible from the home.

The ability to explore the outdoor environment increases access to natural sunlight, providing exercise, improved sleep patterns and reducing challenging behaviours.

Photo showing the fenced verandah of some bulidings that back onto the lawn. There is also a fenced garden area with a shed.
All areas of the outdoor spaces and garden are open for exploration.
Photo of the Westella Vege Patch, with raised garden beds.
Specific areas of interest keep minds active.

With the added advantage of a single point of entry and a 500 metre driveway, security gates are also not immediately visible from the homestead.

Photo showing the unsecured entrance.
Westella Homestead main entrance gate, single point of entry and exit.

Westella has installed a secured ‘air lock’ security gating system providing a double layer of security. If clients were to explore their area and find their way to, and get through the electronically controlled internal gate, they would find themselves in a secured area between the first and second gates.

The second gate, also electronically controlled, is again not visible from the first gate so most of the time deters clients from exploring further.

Photo showing the long driveway, with no gates visible.
The secured driveway area between the outer gate and the inner gate.
Photo showing a long driveway with thick bushes on either side.
View from the inner gate toward the rest home with mature bush and gardens disguising the security fencing.

Video surveillance and motion detection provides visibility and alerts to provide added security.

The placement of the cameras covering the single point of exit to the property and the audible alarm alerts staff to wandering residents making their way toward the gates. Staff are able to redirect the clients and use diversion techniques rather than the client having to have the stress of encountering a locked door, security fence, or feelings of being trapped.  

Photo showing the secured outer gates.
Electronically controlled outer gate and intercom, entry into the secured driveway, not visible from the inner gate.

The added advantage of this set up is that it also provides security for staff on afternoon and night shifts. They have the confidence that no one will be able to get access to the home without an entry code or calling them on the intercom.

Photo showing a secured gate with a stop sign.
Electronically controlled inner gate, intercom, RFID, and video surveillance, not visible from the rest home or the outer gate.
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