How do you plan for changes in care environments?

Below is an extract from our Insights page on Planning for Care - Making the right choices article that is available in our Architect and Planners online portal.  (Free sign-up)

Planning for care - making the right choices

Planning an elderly care facility is about planning for the future, and it will determine both the efficiency and quality of care and the quality of work for the caregivers. As outlined in our Positive Eight philosophy, an efficiently run care home prioritises resident mobility, which catalyses a chain reaction of benefits resulting in more mobile residents and stress free staff. The right choices start with the central elements of the Positive Eight: to ensure the right environment, the right equipment and the right caregiver skills are in place. Planning should consider all resident mobility levels, in order to create a care environment that works for Albert, who is ambulatory, Carl, who needs a lot of support and stimulation, as well as Emma who is totally dependent.

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Allocation of space

Different residents need different levels of support for mobility, transfer and hygiene activities. A ceiling lift could be an effective choice for transferring Emma to a shower trolley, but not for taking Carl to the toilet. It is important to support the resident’s abilities that remain; in this case the ideal care situation should encourage Carl’s ability to stand up with support, and get to the toilet. 
It is important to plan for everyday care and to ensure there is enough space for safe transfers around the bed, in the toilet, and in the bathroom. As a large part of daily personal care routines occur in these locations and hence this will be the focus of this publication.

Plan for change 

In most elderly care facilities, residents live in the facility until the end of their life. This means that someone who arrived in the care facility with the mobility level of Barbara, may be classified as an Emma after some period of time. Also, if Albert sustains a hip fracture, without access to the proper equipment and caregiver skills he may end up as a Carl. A resident’s functional mobility can also change through the course of the day, and that will influence the equipment the caregiver should choose.

Active and passive lifts

The difference is the amount of support they will give to the resident. An active lift, which can be a standing and raising aid or a standing aid, requires some leg strength and upper body stability, while a passive sling lift (ceiling lift or mobile lift) would be more suitable for transferring a resident who is more physically dependent and unable to place weight on their feet. When applied to their functional mobility gallery we may conclude that Carl requires an active lift (a standing and raising aid), while Doris and Emma require a passive sling lift.


Ceiling lifts

Ceiling Lifts are the preferred choice for frequent transfers for Doris and Emma


Ceiling lifters can significantly reduce the risk of caregiver physical overload and facilities may consider a ceiling or wall-mounted overhead track system for many reasons: 12
• Ceiling lifts take up no floor space.
• Ceiling lifts significantly reduce the time for bed to chair transfer when compared to mobile floor lifts.
• Ceiling lifts are easier, quicker and less heavy to use when compared to floor lifts.
• Caregivers are more inclined to use ceiling lifts as they are relatively accessible and convenient.
• Ceiling lifts are always available, which may save time.
• When using ceiling lifts, the caregiver is able to stay closer to the resident to provide comfort and reassurance.
• The ceiling lift can overcome the issue of thresholds and other obstacles within the room.
Extra structural support in the ceiling may be necessary and this must be taken into consideration when planning for a ceiling track system. If ceiling lifts are considered at the planning stage, aesthetic solutions, such as integrated tracks, can be designed to integrate the equipment into the ceiling.

Mobile Floor lifts

The mobile floor lift is suitable for transferring or lifting a resident from the floor in areas beyond the reach of a ceiling lifts, for example in the corridor, elevator, or maybe in the toilet. For this reason the floor lift may be a necessary complement to ceiling lifts within the facility. "


Planning for mobility levels 

Here at Arjo, we have developed the guide for Architects and Planners, a digital portal that contains CAD drawings, room layout examples and space requirements.  You can find the insights and drawings in the link (free sign-up) below. 

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