September 27, 2017

Salutogenesis: shifting the focus of care to wellness

The ‘salutogenic approach’ has enormous relevance in aged care, particularly in the care of people with dementia.

A salutogenic approach, which focuses on factors for health and wellbeing rather than disease, has enormous relevance in aged care, and particularly dementia care, writes Professor Richard Fleming.


The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne was designed with a clear intent: to create a physical environment that can assist with recovery and good health.

A giant fish tank is used as a central point and way finder. Meerkats live on site. Murals, inspired by nature and animals, are used to help visitors navigate floors and wards, with different colours on each floor and different animals representing each wing of a ward.

Research into the effects of design on medical outcomes was key to redefining this space; moving away from a traditional clinical environment towards one that is child-friendly, providing context and promoting wellbeing in a place where sick children are cared for.

This is salutogenesis in action. And the ‘salutogenic approach’ has enormous relevance in aged care, particularly in the care of people with dementia.

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