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Dementia Research Articles

October 15, 2013
Natalie Cooper, University of Manitoba


A student from University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture is working with us to conduct a research study on how a building’s structural layout impacts the ability of health care professionals to care for people with Alzheimer disease and related dementias. The study involves examining the correlation between the built environment (interior work space) and the roles they perform.


As part of the WCA’s ten-year goal to be a leader in innovative dementia care, exploring new ways to provide care and support is an integral part of this effort. This exploration involves collaborating in research activity and working with our community partners to discover how we can enhance the lives of those in our care.


The student recently interviewed five McCormick Home staff members. While her work at the home focuses mainly on nursing, her overall research includes interviewing occupational therapists, registered dietitians, social workers and members of spiritual or therapeutic care teams. The process involves gathering “non-family caregiver” perspectives, including conducting interviews and collecting data about whether or not existing physical environments complement their roles, examining layout considerations that create positive living environments for people with Alzheimer disease and related dementias, and considering the design of future dementia care facilities in the next five years.

To enhance her findings, the student will also be conducting this study at two other dementia care facilities in the area.


The student conducting the research, Natalie Cooper, is a candidate in the Master’s program of Interior Design at the University of Manitoba. The staff members involved were careful not to provide any confidential or identifying information about residents, families or other members of the McCormick Home community. The information gathered will remain confidential and will only be viewed by Natalie and her research advisory team. Staff participation in the research study was voluntary and the interviews took place in early October. The full study is expected to be completed by spring 2014.

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Crawford, CEO, WCA, at 432-2648 ext. 2319, or by e-mail at