Finding ways to provide self-isolation between residents and staff while retaining the social feel of a care home has been a challenge for many providers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Specialist healthcare architects DWA Architects says it is being asked to take isolation needs into account when designing care homes and to consider what interventions might be appropriate without compromising on homeliness.
“Already the bedroom with an ensuite can be reasonably isolatable, but we could improve this further if rooms were a little larger to incorporate simple means of making drinks and snacks to aid coping with isolation,” says architect John Stockill. “If space is limited, designing rooms that can be converted into bedrooms for residents or staff as they might be needed could be a solution. This might include dayrooms or staff training rooms.”
He adds that care homes should also consider a separate staff entrance, with change and washing facilities. This could be directly adjacent to a staircase so staff can enter the building and go straight to the floor they work on, without entering the ground floor or other units.
“Another idea, although not possible everywhere, is that by designing a wholly single storey home with patios to every bedroom we could allow relatives access to individual gardens, negating the need to enter the building to visit a loved one and ensure all residents have access to safe outside space,” says Stockill.