EXECUTIVE DECISIONS with Angela Scott
Angela Scott is the Director of Interior Design for Vizia Healthcare Design Group, a division of Beverly Enterprises. She recently shared her thoughts on some of the new design innovations that are helping enhance resident care.
Q What are some of the leading design innovations you are seeing in nursing facilities?
A In general, eldercare is becoming less institutional and more focused on the needs and preferences of residents. This is affecting almost every facet of operations, from care programs to design. Residents are more in charge of how they live their daily lives, and design is helping to make this happen. Better design can be seen in small ways, such as anti-slip surfaces. It can also be seen in large ways, such as facilities taking on more of a neighborhood-like feel. The result is that residents are becoming more empowered, and are being weaned from the cycle of learned helplessness.
Design is clearly becoming more residential in scale. We're seeing more durable fabrics and finishes. Paint is often being used instead of wall coverings, which often lowers costs, eases maintenance and eliminates mildew.
Theme rooms are becoming more common for residents with Alzheimer's, and more special programming is emerging.
Q How is design changing to meet the growing activities of daily living limits seen among residents?
A Often there is a great deal of stress associated with moving to new accommodation, especially when it is accompanied by greater disability. Choice can help alleviate some of the stress and concerns. Residents are getting up in the morning when they want to; they have more dining choices – both in terms of times and menu selections. And new less institutional bathing offers a calming, peaceful bath time.
Q Clearly, the push is toward accommodating, even celebrating individual choice. How does a company as large as Beverly make this happen, design-wise?
A There are various ways. For example, the creation of neighborhoods, the use of dedicated staff, and letting residents choose the activities they want. Rooms are getting smaller scale, and there is much more resident input for things like furniture, fabrics, artworks and finishes. We soften the clinical look, and provide the resident with a home in which they can live and interact.