Author Archives: Editor
Author Archives: Editor
So you’ve done your homework and chosen a reputable architect and main contractor with specialisms in healthcare design and build; don’t now risk covering up their great work with interior design and fit-out that isn’t of the highest standard and of course fit-for-purpose.
Interior design is the icing that covers the building beneath; prospective residents and their families are not likely to walk in to your care home and say “I love the design and build of this place”, but they will often fall in love with the way your interior looks and feels. Evidence shows that operators who get their interiors right achieve both higher occupancy levels and higher fees so it makes sound commercial sense to allocate a realistic budget for interior design and FF&E.
Getting it right isn’t just about how an interior looks. How it smells and sounds is hugely important too, and often overlooked. If unsuitable carpets and soft furnishings are chosen they will be virtually impossible to clean effectively and unpleasant smells will soon surface. Acoustics need to be soft in homes where residents include dementia and mental illness sufferers who often find loud and tinny environments irritating and unsettling.
Strive to achieve a beautiful, fresh, calming environment which lasts and where residents feel settled and happy.
Do justice to your project; choose your Interior Design and FF&E supplier wisely!
There are hundreds of contract interior design firms out there but only a few who truly specialise in healthcare. Your care home may have specific requirements like Dementia Design or be a Challenging Behaviour environment and all require a specialist approach by experienced designers.
Has the firm won awards for their work? Institutions like Pinders have annual Design Awards which are regarded by many as the BAFTA’s of care home design and so are a real stamp of approval which can be relied on.
Avoid companies who only want to sell from their own range, like furniture manufacturers who offer a design service. For a truly individual interior, unique to your care home, choose a supplier which has access to the whole market.
The devil’s in the detail! If at all possible avoid tendering for the interior design and FF&E. Here’s an example of why: You can buy a pillow for a pound, but you wouldn’t want to sleep on it. Tendering promotes companies who are happy to sneak in a pound pillow but this is an item which has a profound effect on the comfort of your residents and luxury pillows can be supplied for not a great deal more. In the scheme of things, if you’re spending several million building a care home, a few hundred pounds extra on the things which mean so much is money well spent.
A really good interior design and FF&E supplier will ensure that your budget is spent proportionately on the things which really matter – quality towels is another good example of something that can bring daily pleasure to a resident.
A good designer will also be very happy to work closely with you so if you enjoy interior design yourself or have strong ideas about the look you’re trying to achieve, don’t be afraid to ask to be involved.
There is a temptation to take on the design and final fit-out yourself but this is sometimes false economy when your time and your staffs’ time would be best spent recruiting or selling rather than procuring 1000’s of items in the weeks leading up to opening. Not to mention the huge task of installing all the FF&E which a reputable healthcare Interior Design firm will perform with military precision. If you’re building a 60 bed care home expect it to take the experts 5 working days and perhaps 3 times longer if you attempt it yourself.
If you’re planning to refurbish your care home there are other important considerations like how to work around residents and knowing where to find contractors who are used to working in specialists environments like care homes. A specialist Interior Design firm will have done hundreds of care home refurbishment projects so it’s worth asking them before considering taking it on yourself.
Achieving the highest standard of design and fit is fundamental to the quality of care which is ultimately delivered and choosing the right supplier can make all the difference to the success of your project and your business.
Catalyst are an award winning interior design and fit-out company with many years experience in the care sector. More specialist advice is available from them by calling 0151 348 6640 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the story from their website
Care homes and home care providers treating vulnerable and old people without dignity and respect will be put on an ‘unprecedented turn-around programme’, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today in Parliament.
The move comes alongside evidence that a special measures scheme introduced in failing hospitals in the wake of the scandal at Mid Staffs has triggered ‘transformational improvements in services’.
From October, the 25,000 care home and homecare services in England will face a new inspection and rating regime that will ‘shine a light on poor care to drive up standards’.
From April 2015, services rated as inadequate face being put into special measures and given a limited time period to make improvements. If they fail to improve, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, will be able to close them down.
Andrea Sutcliffe said:
People who are using residential and home care services have the right to expect high quality, safe and compassionate care. I am determined that CQC will shine a spotlight on poor care and make it clear that abuse and neglect is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Of course we want services to improve, but where standards are repeatedly falling short, we will call time on poor care.
The outgoing inspection system only focuses on whether homes are meeting a basic set of standards – meaning the public cannot get a detailed picture of the quality of care.
Ms Sutcliffe said that the new system will look at whether people are getting safe and effective care, tailored to their needs, are being treated with dignity and respect, and are being looked after by skilled, compassionate staff.
Care homes and homecare services will be given a rating based on these measures. These will then be published online, allowing the public to make more informed choices.
In the autumn, the CQC will work with the Department of Health, care providers, service users and their friends and families and commissioners, to develop the details of the new special measures scheme, including how failing providers will get support.
The announcement is Mr Hunt’s latest milestone in his drive to create a more transparent culture across the NHS that listens to and acts on what patients and staff say to improve the safety and compassion of care for patients. A fundamental change in culture is crucial for driving up standards.
There are thousands of care homes and homecare services providing excellent care and this new ratings system will allow people and their families to make clear choices. But there are still too many care homes that I wouldn’t be happy to see my own parents or grandparents in. We have shown the special measures process works and care turn around poor-performing hospitals and we can do the same for adult social care.
The status of the 11 hospitals put into special measures in July 2013 is:
Failing care homes are a serious problem for the industry. Not only are they failing the residents and staff, but reporting of their problems and issues continues to undermine public confidence in the care sector as a whole.
There is concern within the industry however that far from helping care homes in crisis, the scheme will actually result in their demise. A hospital is a huge institution where the beds are filled by over demand and the lack of alternative choice for consumers.
Those seeking a care home have a much greater choice in the local area and it is felt that once a home is branded by the special measure tag, it is unlikely that it will be able to fill it’s beds; Consumers will simply just choose to go elsewhere.
So, even if the home is able to improve to the required level, once it’s reputation has been tarred by being in special measures it’s reputation will have been irreparably damaged within the local community and it will therefore inevitably fail on a purely commercial basis.
What do you think about this important issue? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Increasing care and nursing homes are requesting care interiors that truly design consultation and expertise to create a relaxing and engaging interior that in the past would have been more representative of the style you would expect to find in a hotel.
At the heart of considering new interior treatments is the genuine belief that a positive environment provides those within it with a positive experience.
Shackletons, the Yorkshire based care furniture specialists, have been working within care environments for 50 years. Jason Bloom, national sales manager says: “Certainly there has been a distinct shift within the care sector regarding furniture. Of course we still have fit for purpose considerations to apply but form is becoming just as important as function as the sector considers the needs and wants of their varying customers.”
“The care sector has many forward thinking and dynamic care operators who are certainly nothing like the old stereotyped images many people still have. As the market becomes more competitive and more aware of its customer the need for appealing and creative interior solutions have become majorly important.”
“Cleanability is still a big focus for the sector and we understand this is essential in maintaining a clean and healthy environment, but this doesn’t come at the expense of design. We have spent many years developing a satisfying solution that not only aids carers in their roles but enables residents to live their lives as independently as they can in comfortable and enjoyable surroundings.” Says Jason.
Robust and functional fabrics and design methods are used to meet the needs of the many care providers who demand a product that is a million miles away from the institutionalised look many of us will remember. Intelligent fabrics and innovative designs are developed to meet the standard feature requirements, such as waterproof membranes, stain repellent technology and odour control. Design is applied in a way that considers the physical support the end user may need as well as how individuals’ senses will react – what does it look like, how does it feel.
“There is still an image crisis concerning old age, we cannot assume all residents within a care home are frail, immobile, infirm and incapable of making a decision. The elderly have the same expectations as all of us. They want to socialise, enjoy comfortable surroundings, relax, and be active and independent. The physical and mental ability of residents are always taken into account, we design and manufacture furniture that truly is bespoke without compromising on style, quality and visual appeal.”
In more recent times the company has responded to the growing needs of care operators looking to maintain a better quality of life for residents with dementia. The disease can manifest in many ways and doesn’t automatically mean an immediate lack of senses. However issues around memory loss and communication can become an issue if a care home doesn’t recognise the need for a dementia friendly environment.
“Having dementia doesn’t mean loss of independence or quality of life; but confusion, disorientation, and frustration can result in a lack of quality of life if residents are not accommodated in a way that promotes and enables a dignified and independent way of life.
“Design can help with this. We consult with many operators on this topic. We use colours, choose appropriate fabrics and consider the overall constructed design of our furniture.” Says Jason.
Colours of fabrics help to easily define areas. Colours become cues to help residents distinguish between an activity, dining or living area, and even the toilet. Recognition removes the potential for a resident to become disorientated; it is proven to provide greater independence and a better quality of life.
“Development of furniture for a care environment obviously has very specific and necessary requirements concerning space planning and mobility. Our CAD system allows for efficient design and layout planning. We help our clients visualise how wheelchair users and elderly residents’ mobility can be accommodated as well as improved. Working this way helps care providers consider how compliance and regulations can find a pleasing design fit with end user choices and independence.” Says Jason
It is a fact as we face an aging population the demand for quality care services will increase. Design plays a vital role in achieving that quality. A well designed care environment can and does improve the quality of life of residents. If design can enable an increase in choices, individuals become empowered and more independent which in-turn gives carers’ quality time to spend socially with residents.