Dementia Inclusive Hospitals from a Universal Design Approach – MOOC

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Researchers from TrinityHaus Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in partnership with Tallaght University Hospital (TUH), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, and HOPE (the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation) have created a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) focusing on dementia inclusive hospital design. The MOOC will be hosted as a free online course by TCD in partnership with Futurelearn and will be available from mid-January 2022.

Check for more information about the course and the course start date.

This MOOC was funded by EIT Health through the European Union and their assistance and support is greatly appreciated.

It was supported by The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority; O’Connell Mahon Architects; and The Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSiDC) in St. James’s Hospital Dublin. 

The content and online development of the MOOC was coordinated by Cobblestone Learning.


Background: The MOOC is based on an existing research and a set of Dementia Friendly Hospital Design Guidelines that were funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) in 2018. This work was completed with the partners listed above and also the HSE (HSB Estates); The National Dementia Office; The Alzheimer Society of Ireland; the Irish Dementia Working Group; Mercy University Hospital, Cork; Nass General Hospital, Kildare; and, Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin.


Description of MOOC: For many patients, the hospital is challenging due to the busy, unfamiliar, and stressful nature of the environment. For those with dementia the experience can be exacerbated by cognitive impairment and behavioural or psychological symptoms, which can make visits frightening, distressing, and disorientating.  

This MOOC will provide much needed education, design guidance, and awareness for an important but underdeveloped area of design. Furthermore, it will be useful for a wide range of stakeholders in developing their overall knowledge around dementia and the built environment; for hospital management when setting strategic objectives or developing briefs; and for facilities management, healthcare staff, and design professionals involved in new-build or retro-fit projects. 

The MOOC will present learners with key information, insights, and tasks related to dementia-friendly hospital design. It will run online over 3 weeks and progress through greater levels of detail; starting with an overall discussion of dementia-inclusive design and finish with more detailed guidance for specific areas of the hospital. The course will cover the following key areas:

– Understand the symptoms of dementia and the related impairments and how these impact on a person’s experience of the hospital setting.

– Universal Design and how it can support dementia inclusive design approach in the hospital context

– Understanding the hospital in terms of key spatial scales and key areas (e.g. Campus or site, Main internal circulation area, Emergency Department, Inpatient Ward etc.)

– Key dementia-friendly hospital design issues.

The MOOC will be available from mid-January 2022, as a free online course; TCD have partnered with Futurelearn to provide MOOCs in a wide range of subject areas. it will be offered as an on-demand course, i.e. the course will run continuously, and learners will be able to begin learning as soon as they enroll, and will not need to wait for a new run of the course in order to initiate their learning via MOOC.


Further Information: For further information, please contact Tom Grey, Research Fellow, TrinityHaus –