Sensory for Dementia at TRI

At Toronto Rehab Institute’s (TRI) 5 South, patients who suffer with severe forms of dementia are admitted in hopes of helping them with their ailments, before sending them back to their long-term care centres.

The graduate students of OCAD U’s Design for Health program joined together with TRI to help redesign 5 South with a more effective and healing design. The aspect of “Sensory” was integrated throughout the floor, integrating lighting and sound to help relieve stress, depression, agitation and an overall sense of wellness.

Here are some renderings from the project:



Lighting intervention locations

The yellow blocking in this image represents the spaces that will be addressed with the lighting interventions.


Sound intervention locations

This image represents the locations where the sound interventions will be located, including both public and private spaces.


OneSpace intervention locations

The yellow rectangles marked on this image represent the locations where Philips’ OneSpace product can be instituted.


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This rendering demonstrates what the hallways of 5 South could look like with the integration of Philips’ Luminous Textile panels on the walls, providing an element of interest while helping to create a calm and stimulating environment.


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This rendering demonstrates what the ceilings on the hallways of 5 South could look like with the integration of Philips’ OneSpace, providing the sense of space and air, while providing a calming defuse light throughout the space.


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Philips’ OneSpace on the ceiling of the dining room brightens up the space in a calm manner, creating a more inviting place for eating meals, which can sometimes be a difficult task for those with dementia.


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The patient bedrooms have been outfitted with bigger windows to allow more outside light to come in, intigrating the circadian rhythm into the space, as well as the integration of the OneSpace, to further allow for calm and defuse light within the space.


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The physical therapy room was once a dark room located within the interior of the building, not permitting for any natural light and outfitted with fluorescent lighting. This rendering demonstrates the relocation of this room to an exterior room outfitted with a window. this room also has windows into the hallway and Philips’ OneSpace on the ceiling.


Abungin Coronel, A., Halleran, L., Lang, A., Abreu Ligabue, F., Mulvale, A., Saby, A., Tagari, S.,  Talebzadeh, A. (2017). Designing for the Dementia Environment. Unpublished. OCAD University

Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD)

The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) was originally designed by Max Hamilton in 1960 but has gone through many revisions over the years. This scale is based on a set of  questions which can be used to provide an indication of depression and thus, to guide the recovery.

The questions provided relate to mood, feelings of guilt, suicide ideation, insomnia, agitation, anxiety, weight loss and somatic symptoms.

Each question relates to a 3 or 5 point scale which are then tallied up to a final score number. This assessment takes about 20 minutes.

Click on link below for a PDF of the HRSD –

Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD)

Hamilton, M. (1960). Rating Scale for Depression . Retrieved July 3, 2017, from
The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. (1997). [PDF] Triangle Park: Glaxo Wellcome. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jul. 2017].

Agitated Behaviour Scale (ABS)

The Agitated Behavior Scale (ABS) was initially developed to assess the nature and extent of agitation during the acute phase of recovery from a brain injury.

The ABS is a serial assessment, allowing professionals to obtain objective feedback about the patient’s agitation.

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Click link below for a PDF copy of the ABS-

Agitated Behaviour Scale


Bogner, J. (2000). Introduction to the Agitated Behavior Scale. Retrieved July 03, 2017, from

Beddit Sleep Tracker

A sleep tracker, such as Beddit, can be used to measure the quality and quantity of sleep and the patient’s heart rate (indicator of stress), breathing (number of breaths per minute), snoring (indicator of poor sleep quality), while also monitoring the environment.

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Beddit. (2016). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://www.beddit. com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwicfHBRCh6KaMp4-asKgBEiQA8GH2x-iQOp_Y- aHPPdm08amP31wFzoHXXZTiSMp_Z5-ZpUUaAgyt8P8HAQ


Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) can be used to help the dementia health care team evaluate the sensory interventions by assessing the patient’s quality of sleep.

The PSQI is a questionnaire used to assess one’s quality of sleep over a one-month period. A score is generated based on the 19 questions provided which can then be used to diagnose sleeping disorders.

Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index

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Click on link below to access a PDF copy of the PSQI –

Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index

Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). (n.d.). Retrieved July 03, 2017, from

Evaluating the New Design

A list of measures should be referred to for testing the new design implications. The purpose for this is to know if these sensory applications are in fact working and at what rate.

This can be a crucial first step to take so that the financial burden can be evaluated and the hospital team as well as the designers and architects can determine whether these sensory aspects are necessary or not, within their particular environment.

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(Lang & Talebzadeh 2017)
Lang, A., & Talebzadeh, A. (2017). Meta- Ethnography/ Scoping Review. Unpublished. OCAD University