As Life Plan Humboldt (LPH) collects your responses to the Design Survey we are reaching out to experienced individuals and groups to find the best models for older adult living… whatever our stage of life.
To help us with this research Life Plan Humboldt has become a member of Leading Age (Leadingage.org). This organization supports networking and education, and advocates for non-profit life plan communities while researching trends in the aging services community.
They have monitored the situation as Covid-19 continues to impact senior living and more attention is directed toward using design to reduce infection risk. Their input will assist us in helping our new community have up-to-date safety features.
Lending Age has supported an innovative model for memory care/advanced nursing units built with only 10-12 bedrooms.
This is called the “small house” or “green house” model. Built without the typical long institutional style corridors found in most facilities, the “small house” model provides each resident with a private room and bathroom, and everyone shares a common living room, dining/kitchen area providing shared meals in a family-like setting.
This configuration gives people an at-home feel, increases direct care and support, reduces the number of caregiver staff needed in each unit, and allows residents more privacy.
Being outdoors can also help reduce infection risk, and a “small house” memory care/advanced nursing facility can be designed to facilitate access to porches and garden areas. With a well-planned physical layout, these areas can visible to staff from the living room and kitchen. So, with easy access to residents – so garden doors can remain unlocked during the day.
Another innovation uses the televisions in residents’ private rooms to set up Zoom services for telemedicine, family gatherings, community get togethers, and communication from the facility management. Bringing online clinical medical services allows treatment without residents having to leave their home, thus reducing the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus.
Other features to reduce infection risk that are often found in hospitals can be built into a new facility. These include bathing some areas with UV light, increasing air flow and humidity, and installing “touchless” technology, such as doors that open on command. Oxygen supply and air flow return vents can be disguised and fit under picture frames, making these clinical resources available without the clinical feel.
Each “small-house” typically needs only three caregiving staff on-hand, less than institutional skilled nursing and memory care facilities. This smaller number of dedicated workers reduces the potential for infection exposure for residents. The enhanced relationships with residents may also increase a sense of staff accountability, and enhance their efforts to be more careful outside of the facility.
If LPH can include small/green house units in our facilities, this would give all Humboldt residents another option for advanced nursing care if needed. And LPH residents would easily be able to visit friends and family, keeping our connections strong and our love continuous.
Please share your design ideas with Life Plan Humboldt at this link.