Design Affects Care

The Fast Company had a good article about the design of nursing homes, some have been compared to prisons. Nursing homes are often institutionally designed. Long corridors. Bad lighting. Bland furnishings. Neutral colors. Design choices support the type or model of care.  In the future, comfort and independence must outweigh “cost efficiencies.”

“During the pandemic, things were made even worse as residents were denied the right to leave their rooms or have visitors. For many residents, it must have felt like the prevention was worse than the disease, as physical and psychological health declined markedly in imposed isolation.”

The article emphasizes three key ideas:

  1. Connect the community to the outside world to build social support networks. The inspiration is from the urban design concept known as the “five-minute community,” where everything is a short walk away.
  2. Provide individualized care including access to rehabilitation and restorative services to increase safety and promote independence.
  3. Small homes will be best for infection control.

It’s time to rethink these physical environments with peoples’ fundamental needs at the heart of design.