Reimagining Nursing Homes Post-COVID
COVID-19 put nursing homes back in the news, and to survive, they will need to do better. Nursing homes are needed now more than ever. 65 year-olds have a 70% chance of needing long-term care, and 20% of these individuals will need care for longer than 5 years. Nursing homes are facing many challenges, giving them a bad reputation for their poor living conditions. 94% of nursing homes were cited for health violations. Of these violations, 17% caused harm or jeopardy; this included bedsores, medication confusion, bad diets or nutrition, and abuse and neglect.
Additionally, many nursing homes are struggling financially. From 1999 to 2008, 50% of hospital-based facilities closed, 11% of freestanding facilities closed, and 10% of rural facilities closed. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 turned attention back to nursing homes. If they aren’t perfect, they may be at risk of closure. Nursing homes fail faster if they have a poor census, recreation options, and physical design. Other failures are due to high overhead costs, poor Medicaid reimbursement, and biohazard safety breaches.
Nursing homes that care for our loved ones in a controlled setting require a good deal of architectural innovation. All nursing homes require the same basic architecture, which includes patient rooms, lobby spaces, public and private bathrooms, staff rooms, and food preparation areas. All of these areas must be developed with safety in mind. Design matters and nursing homes must provide exemplary care to patients. Modern nursing homes must be constructed with patients, family, and staff in mind.
Nursing homes must rise to meet growing demand. They should include unique and nutritious food options, fun activities for patients and families, and rehabilitation opportunities to strengthen and repair injured residents. Modern nursing home design needs ergonomic appliances and technology, high quality, budget-friendly, and economical flooring, and high quality of care and attention. Products that provide an intersection of safety and quality include therapy types, appliances, medications, recreations, and flooring options. To serve the greatest number of people possible, modern nursing homes need constant innovation.
Key factors to consider when designing a modern nursing home are to understand your audience, start from the inside out, and identify and incorporate different spaces. Make your patients feel at home, not at an institution. Build a budget around the quality of care. This includes automating repetitive tasks, finding new technologies that free up employee time. Constructing large rooms with safety options and building aesthetic environments can also help improve quality of life. Examine the look and feel of your space, asking whether it looks like a hospital or a home and whether it feels impersonal.
Plan for safety from the floor up. Replace carpets with flooring that is easy to clean and disinfect, and choose an antibacterial finish to slow the spread of germs. Additionally, consider low-impact, slip-resistant options to prevent falls and injuries. Invest in cost-effective architecture like luxury vinyl tile for smooth, fall-proof surfaces, or stone particle composite for 100% waterproof capabilities. CARES Act relief funds can be used to replace old non-cleanable flooring. Evolve your nursing home: evaluate, innovate, renovate. See these ideas below...
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