How to create better aged care building design (and why)
Many elderly people dread moving into an aged care facility that feels too clinical, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Building companies that strive for ‘continuous improvement in aged care building design’ put the evolving needs of residents first – to create a nurturing environment that people love being in.
As a nation, we’re getting older.
Far more Australians will need aged care services as time goes on, because our population is ageing rapidly.
Residents deserve to feel supported in a nurturing environment that feels like home.
And many do, but there’s definitely room for improvement – according to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Interim Report, which calls for systemic reform.
“It is clear that a fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation and funding of aged care in Australia is required – not merely patching up”
There are MANY wonderful nursing homes out there, with hard-working staff who go above and beyond.
However, aged care facilities don’t always have the best reputation for being somewhere that residents want to live (generally speaking).
Rightly or wrongly, they’re often perceived as being too impersonal. As such, it’s not uncommon for family members to feel guilty when dropping off their loved ones, or to change their minds about the move!
What happens when aged care facilities don’t strike the perfect balance between delivering practical support and creating a nurturing environment?
- Unhappy residents
- Safety issues
- More complaints
- Lower enrolment rates
- Loss of revenue (51 per cent of aged care facilities spend more money than they make)
The Royal Commission is calling for a renewed focus on quality service, compassion and kindness.
Aged care building design is merely one piece of the puzzle, but it’s fairly important.
We believe in the power of empathic architecture to support the physical needs of residents, while also creating warmth, belonging and joy.
This means that nursing homes must be designed to meet the:
- Physical needs of residents (especially those with disabilities)
- Emotional needs of residents (supportive environments that feel like home)
Just as importantly, these designs must adapt easily to change – to minimise future disruption.
Without adaptable design, stressed managers would need to spend even more money on massive renovations every time there’s reform in the industry (and no one wants that).
This is why it’s vital to cater to continuous improvement in aged care building design…
All about this approach (continuous improvement in aged care building design:
It’s best practice for nursing homes to regularly improve every element of aged care, so they’re always tailoring solutions to suit the issues that residents face.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (AACQA) wants residential homes to constantly assess, monitor and improve their quality of care and services in innovative ways.
What could this approach look like, when it comes to aged care building design and construction?
Here are some ideas:
- The design can’t be rigid, as it may evolve as more information about the needs of residents comes to light. Fit outs should be easy to adapt, without starting the entire design process from scratch.
- Designers should respond to feedback from residents, employees, visitors, professionals and stakeholders.
- It’s a good idea to regularly monitor the impact of the design, to see if any changes are required.
- The focus should always be on creating spaces that positively impact the physical and mental health of residents. It’s also crucial to consider the impact on the people who support them (staff and visitors).
- Are there any problems that can be addressed by tweaking aged care building design? Case in point: falls cause the highest number of preventable deaths in aged care homes (81.5 per cent between 2000 and 2013, according to the Medical Journal of Australia). Although there are many reasons why people fall, a change in design could help to alleviate the problem.
- Many elderly people feel as though they’ve lost their independence when they move into a residential home. What design elements help people to reclaim a sense of power and autonomy (especially in the bathroom)?
- Is the design based on evidence that supports people living with disability? For example, people with dementia can feel intimidated when their surroundings are huge, or there is too much happening in a room. They need to be able to clearly see key places to decide where they want to go – which means that buildings with good visual access are essential for these residents.
The benefits of practical and empathic aged care building design:
If you’re an aged care provider, you already know how crucial it is that residents feel safe and empowered, as you support their physical needs.
This is what continuous improvement in aged care building design gets you.
Aged care professionals work hard to deliver the best services to residents. When innovative design supports this mission; managers can confidently say they’ve created an environment that residents enjoy living in and family members feel good about visiting.
Some of the benefits:
- A positive, warm and nurturing environment for residents, staff and visitors
- Fewer injuries due to improved design
- Better mental health for residents
- A significant improvement in occupancy levels (higher revenue)
- Increased demand for the facility, waiting list
- Fewer complaints
- Employees feel more supported in their job
- Resources aren’t wasted on massive design changes every time there’s reform in the industry, because the design adapts easily to change.
- You’re building self esteem and confidence in aged care
Why choose Coverite to improve your aged care building design?
We’re committed to planning, designing and refurbishing facilities that enhance every aspect of living for aged care residents.
- Coverite has been doing this for more than 45 years.
- We deliver your project on-time and within budget
- You remain operational while we plan, design and construct your spaces (there’s little disruption to your workflow).
- Our approach is innovative from concept to completion.
- We never compromise on quality.
- We always honour building codes and government regulations.
Our team operates on the East Coast of Australia.
How to Maximise Your ROI in your Aged Care Design
Our knowledgeable consultants understand the financial aspect of aged-care design and construction better than anyone.
Book a consultation now to learn:
- Learn how your organisation can remain operational whilst refurbishing & future proofing;
- Learn how much additional government funding or Grants you might be eligible for;
- Learn how a strategic and well planned upgrade can actually improve the financial performance of your facility