Retirement homes are designed to serve typically elderly patients who require long-term therapeutic and preventive care. Residents generally have non-acute health problems and are fragile but not bedridden. They may need canes or walkers to help them get around and help with their daily tasks such as eating, dressing and washing. Most nursing home residents will stay for the remaining months or years of their lives, which is why the design of the home is so important.
A nursing home is not just an institution where one lavishes care – it 's really a home for its residents. This special design challenge means that the environment of the nursing home must be conducive to long-term emotional and physical human needs. A welcoming atmosphere must be combined with all that is necessary to give a good quality of medical care. Retirement homes are unique in that they are very patient-oriented, so the overall design plan is an essential part of the quality of the home.
The environment of the nursing home can have a significant impact on the health of its residents. Architects and designers need to pay attention to details such as catering for people with physical or mental disabilities, or loss of sight, while maintaining a warm atmosphere. A welcoming environment is far more conducive to patient recovery than a sterile hospital.
The effectiveness of a nursing home is also very important, both for the care of the residents and for the performance of the nursing staff. There should be short distances between frequently used areas such as dining rooms and bathrooms. This allows fragile residents to easily access areas of the house. Spaces should be open and incorporate interior windows to allow nurses to see large areas of the house at the same time. This minimizes the number of employees needed for supervision and also frees the staff to perform other important tasks.
Cleanliness is a third important feature of a nursing home because many patients may experience some form of incontinence. Not only is it unhealthy, but it can give a general impression of an unhygienic environment if the retirement home has an unpleasant smell. Easy-to-clean surfaces are an integral part of the design, as are efficient ventilation and integrated household spaces. All finishes on surfaces must be durable to protect them from stains and shocks, and there must be no cracks or crevices unfilled that could hide dirt or be difficult to clean.
The rest home furniture can also help both the hygiene and the performance of the nursing staff. Easy-to-clean fabrics are essential, and furniture can also be designed to facilitate staff access to patients. The general scheme, however, must be simple, so that the furniture must create a warm and welcoming appearance while maintaining its functionality.
These design considerations represent a unique challenge for designers and architects, but when met, they can help give nursing patients good quality of care and a comfortable environment as long as they are safe. They need it.