Design Decisions: It's 'a culture of caring'

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Design Decisions: It's 'a culture of caring'
Design Decisions: It's 'a culture of caring'
When nursing homes launch remodeling projects, the common goal, inevitably, is to make the setting feel more like home and less like a sterile institution. The team involved in remodeling the Asian Community Center Nursing Home in Sacramento, CA, had this in mind, and more.

Incorporating Asian culture into the design was a key to the project's success. About two-thirds of residents and 20% of staff are Asian.

“The new design better reflects a culture of caring, a defining part of our inherited Asian heritage,” says Darren Trisel, chief operating officer of the facility. “But that is shared with people of all ethnic backgrounds at the Asian Community Center Nursing Home. This was an essential goal and a challenging task, but one I feel was fulfilled through the remodel design.”

The primary reason for the renovation was to fill the main entrance with more natural light and make it more accessible via sliding glass doors. Trisel says the guiding principle of the project was to make the center feel more like home, so making sure the main entrance and lobby reflected that was a must.

Trisel and his design team, led by Laurie Bacon of ESC Design, decided to transform the lobby into a living room where residents could socialize and greet guests.

The team achieved this by adding a salt-water fish tank, an aviary and a glass waterfall. It also added a monitor, which is referred to as an “information station.”

Bacon says that another goal of the design was to improve navigation ability, or “way finding.”

“This was accomplished with the use of specific colors on finish materials within specific neighborhoods (wings), as well as signage and themes per neighborhood,” Bacon says. “This helps both staff and residents identify their rooms. In addition, new automated doors and security systems assist in transporting wheelchairs to and from the facility, while a tracking system for each resident ensures no one leaves the facility unattended.”

These renovations were finished late last year as part of the first phase of remodeling. Next, Asian Community Center Nursing Home leaders say they will launch renovations to various parts of the skilled nursing department this summer.

 “We are still in-process for ‘space redesign' of the nurses station,” Trisel explains. “The old nurses station will be eliminated and replaced with an indoor gazebo effect, including  park benches, plants and new lighting. Then, the nurses station will be moved and redesigned in an adjacent area to be less conspicuous, but more functional with our electronic charting.”

Bacon says one of the biggest challenges posed by the remodeling was successfully keeping a 24-hour nursing home facility fully operational during construction with minimal disruption. Mission accomplished.Trisel says the safety and care of the patients during this project was of the utmost importance. Both Bacon and Trisel confidently say that the work that took place during the remodeling did not unduly interrupt residents and staff.

Lessons learned

1. Ask residents, families and staff for design feedback

2. Use color schemes to encourage “way finding”

3. Incorporate ethnic and cultural elements into design
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