Twenty-twenty brought a lot of things into focus that had previously been neglected, not the least of which is nursing homes. Nursing homes already had a bad reputation. Virtually no one wants to end up in a nursing home, and yet 70% of us will do exactly that, with 20% living in nursing homes for 5+ years. With the current state of these facilities, the thoughts of spending our last days there can be downright depressing. If we happen to already be in a nursing home or have a loved one there, this past year might have been nothing short of devastating. It’s abundantly clear that it is time to rethink the way nursing homes function.
Amid the COVID pandemic, 94% of nursing homes were cited for health code violations with 17% of those violations actually causing harm to residents. Issues such as bedsores, medication confusion, abuse or neglect, and poor nutrition have been a serious cause for concern and change for quite some time, but the pandemic is finally bringing these things back to light. Senior citizens deserve better and it’s past time to do everything we must do to solve these issues and improve their quality of life.
Along with the problems surrounding the operation of nursing homes and care for residents, many nursing homes are simply in financial failure. Of course, all of these issues go hand in hand as an undesirable facility, in which residents have a poor quality of life and care, is going to be a facility in financial failure.
These issues can seem daunting, but they are not unsolvable. One of the most important solutions to nursing home challenges is a reimagining of architecture and design. All nursing homes have the same basic design needs. They all require patient rooms, lobby and recreation areas, public and private bathrooms, staff rooms, and food preparation areas, and all of these areas can be designed with the budget, quality, safety, and care in mind.
The solutions are already within our grasp. It’s time for the modern nursing home to feel like a home.