'Selective' surroundings: design group's program adapts to fit a facility's needs

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'Selective' surroundings: design group's program adapts to fit a facility's needs
'Selective' surroundings: design group's program adapts to fit a facility's needs
When the census starts falling, some providers look to renovation and remodeling as ways to attract new residents to a long-term care facility. But when it comes to interior design, many providers don't really know what they want.

It's outside of most people's area of expertise, explains Nancy Semon, manager of interior design and product sales at Invacare Continuing Care Group. Luckily, Semon doesn't have that problem. She created the “Select” system, which she put in place at the new Timber Ridge Health Care Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

“What Select is, is a way for a customer or client to go about remodeling or designing a new building rapidly, efficiently, beautifully and affordably,” Semon explains. “Those four areas are really important.”

Keyword: Budget

Timber Ridge is a 180-bed skilled nursing facility that features a 30-bed short-term rehabilitation unit on the first floor, and a 30-bed secured memory support unit on the second floor. It opened in January. Like all new construction projects, it began with a budget.

“It's not unusual that you begin working through the budget and somebody [elsewhere in the project] comes in over budget, whether it's the roof or whatever it is,” Semon says. “So you're always massaging those numbers.”

Even though a budget may change and shrink, the entire facility still has to be decorated. Fortunately, Semon's Select program easily adapted to compensate for such changes.

“We couldn't say, ‘Well, we only have enough money to do three areas,'” she says. “They have to open their doors and bring in residents.”

Semon and her team have a number of creative solutions to help facilities find a look that fits within a budget they dictate, even if that budget changes. It starts with some keywords, to help designers get a feel for what direction to take. For Timber Ridge, those words included “warm, welcoming and functional.” It is definitely not a “prim and proper” environment, Semon says.

From there, the designers and the facility owners follow a proprietary sequence of questions and decision-making steps that help the facility find “harmonized styles and color schemes that fit the facility's personality, and budget,” Semon says.

All things nice

The look that Timber Ridge settled on certainly is warm and welcoming. After careful consideration, the community selected a “cinnamon and spice” theme.

“It gives you a feel for the colors, the reds and golds and crème colors,” Semon says. “This building sort of fits around all these beautiful trees, so it really was perfect.”

Throughout the facility, the coordinated color scheme provides a sense of consistency. And though each area—from the lobby to the dining room to the recreation areas —has its own feel, there is a common thread between them all. “We believe that every nursing home ought to be beautiful, and at the end of the day we want to provide beautiful, comfortable and affordable designs for long-term care.”