On August 28, HFR Design partnered with local senior care experts and influencers to present modern thoughts and solutions to senior care industry workers at the 2016 THCA/TNCAL conference in Knoxville, TN. The presenters, which included Heather Yaple (HFR Design), Judy Eads (Key Management Associates), and Dr. Kort Nygard (Key Rehabilitation, Inc. ) spoke in a forum-like setting, giving audience members the opportunity to interact with an architectural designer, facilities consultant, and psychologist in order to empower real change.
“One of the things I’ve found working as a psychologist in nursing homes is that I came into this arena a couple of decades ago thinking that I was going to bring all of this cerebral technology that I had acquired, and I found over the years that it really gets down to some very common sense dynamics going on,” says Dr. Kort Nygard. “Little, seemingly inconsequential things can make a big difference.”
Judy Eads works with senior care facilities across the State, consulting healthcare agencies on licensure, certification, and accreditation issues. “There’s one thing that everyone thinks about nursing homes: you go there to die. So that’s what you are trying to overcome when you are trying to move from an institutional model over to a home-like environment. So you have to think out of the box, because you can’t think about ‘Well this is the way we’ve always done it because – let me tell ya – there’s some folks here that’s already made those changes.’”
“It’s gotta look like somebody’s home,” adds Eads. “[In your home] you can go anywhere you want to.”
Heather Yaple, an architectural designer specializing in healthcare, introduced built environment concepts that supported the points Nygard and Eads made. “The looks of the facility can change the experience,” said Yaple. She pointed out to attendees that features such as natural light, carpet patterning that assists with wayfinding and is dementia-friendly, and residential-like architectural features such as details and colors can make a noticeable difference. “This is an opportunity for us to come together as an industry to share ideas – it’s where change starts to happen,” said Yaple.
Attendees interacted by offering changes of all sizes that could be incorporated into the senior care environment that would be impactful. Giving residents access to outside, bringing in animals to visit residents, adding sitting areas, and other suggestions were discussed as immediate actions that could be taken to improve quality of life in senior living facilities. For more information on this presentation, please contact Heather Yaple.
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