Medical Building Design

  • Designing with Conscience: How Compassion Builds the Best Structures

    senior woman with her caregiver at homeArchitects, builders, and designers make a difference with every structure they draw and build. A tremendous amount of thought must go into every square inch to ensure, not only the appeal of new buildings, but their overall function.

    There are other sectors of the American (and international) public that requires even more thought to be given to any design. Creating a friendly design for the disabled can be some of the most rewarding and challenging in the field of architecture.

    Nursing homes, senior living communities, and rehab centers are among the many spaces that need to cater to individuals with physical disabilities. While it isn’t without frustration, making something that will increase the quality of life for someone is noble and worthwhile goal.

    The Problem Is Clear

    Key Stats:

    • 15.1% of adults in the U.S. have a physical functioning difficulty (over 36 million people).
    • 75.4 million Americans had difficulty in at least one basic function in 2013 (a third of which are 65+).
    • 7.1% of adults are unable (are find it very difficult) to walk a quarter mile.

    While the numbers seem staggering, that should only prove the need for professionals to design from both their skill and conscience. All too often, buildings are crafted to meet the specific standards of regulation stemming from the ADA.

    Many of these requirements are very helpful, but certain nuances and better solutions can be overlooked when being guided strictly by a “regulation” mindset. A little bit of thought from a well-versed architect will go a long way toward making the day in and day out routines of people with physical disabilities more enjoyable and independent.

    A Couple of Ways to Help

    The next time you’re looking at the regulations, go a step further and analyze two key factors:

    The Mind of the Inhabitants: People don’t want to be labeled as disabled (even if they technically are), and they want to live as normal of a life as possible. Your designed spaces can change drastically to accommodate independence while still falling within local and federal guidelines.

    The Needs of the Inhabitants: Thinking about the physical actions of a resident or patient with physical disabilities can open your eyes to the needs that wouldn’t normally be met. Things like hardware and functionality can be slightly altered for a major effect.

    SOSS believes in designing with a conscience. We’ve helped supply the best quality door hardware on the market to many places that assist the community of individuals with physical disabilities. If your build is intended for those individuals, we encourage you to consider the SOSS UltraLatch. Our revolutionary door latch will help most with limited mobility open doors without assistance. For more information, be sure to look at our UltraLatch page.

  • Designing a Rehab Center That Builds Patient Confidence

    8414180_sRehab centers can be the core contributor to recovery for many people facing life’s challenges. After entering the doors of a rehab center, patients know that pain and struggle may lie ahead on their path to wellness. Consequently, any features that can enhance and improve the life of the patients can go a long way to improving their rehab experience.

    Safe Surfaces

    Being able to navigate within the rehab center is a prime consideration. Because many rehab patients are using mobility aids, walkways and other surfaces, need to be adapted to their use. Textured or rubber-covered surfaces can provide more traction for wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.

    The slant of the walkways should also be considered. A low degree of slant is preferred so wheelchair and walker users can easily negotiate the uphill grade of ramps and sidewalks.

    Outdoor approaches to the facility should be designed so that water doesn’t collect on the level surfaces. Likewise, outdoor approaches in colder climates should be designed and adapted so that snow and ice do not collect in front of the doors and on access paths and ramps.

    Easy Access

    Access to areas, rooms and doors should be easy and instinctive, even to those with the most severe physical challenges. Handrails should be placed so that those who are in wheelchairs can grasp them as easily as those patients who walk.

    Door handles should be easy to operate as well. The SOSS UltraLatch offers an innovative, easy-to-use and ADA compliant door latch for patients with limitations of the hand, wrist or arm. For the sight-challenged, signs with large print and good contrast should be used to help indicate the way through hallways and to reception areas and dining rooms.

    Color and Music

    Warm colors combined with music that both uplifts and soothes can increase the sense of well-being in a rehab center. Patients feel better when the atmosphere is nurturing and welcoming. Cheery colors and seasonal holiday decorations contribute a great deal to making a rehab center a place of possibilities and hope. Because the atmosphere can help the attitude of a patient, providing a positive and warm environment is extremely important.

    Rehab centers have rapidly become a place that more and more people visit, whether they are entering a center as a patient or as a family member or friend who is supporting a patient. To improve on rehab centers of the past, new designs are offering many features that contribute to the healing of their residents and patients.

    The small touches of comfort and convenience may not always be the most evident, but they may contribute the most to the patient's overall sense of wellness.

  • Getting Your Medical Practice Ready for Seniors

    The increased effectiveness of modern health care and the large population of the baby-boomer generation have combined to create new challenges for today’s physicians. Doctors who deal with this rapidly growing patient base are finding that their medical practices need to be adjusted and adapted to provide the best possible service and medical care.

    However, identifying exactly what needs to be changed and improved can be challenging. Here are a few suggestions for getting a medical practice ready for the new generation of senior citizens.

    Caring and Considerate Staff

    The kindness and caring attitude of office workers, nurses, and other medical personnel is extremely important when dealing with people who are aging. It can be difficult to remain patient and considerate while handling the limitations and issues of older people who are ill or may be suffering from dementia. Not only are the patients experiencing the effects of illness, but they are also feeling the effects of aging, which can be very upsetting and disorienting.

    Dealing with these personality issues on a daily basis can be demanding. Make sure your office and support staff have the right type of personality traits and demeanor for your aging patients.

    Enhance Your Environment

    Take a good look at the physical aspects of your office and make sure it can be adapted or remodeled to handle the senior clientele. All approaches will need to be wheelchair-accessible which requires ramps with a low degree of slant as well as textured surfaces to allow for better traction. Elevator panels may need to be lowered for those in wheelchairs, and they may need to be modified with larger print and buttons for patients who have eye problems.

    Doors may need to be adapted, making them easier to open. People with arthritis or patients who have recently undergone hand, arm or wrist surgery may not be able to use a traditional door handle. Installing an ADA compliant door handle, like the SOSS Ultralatch, will allow patients with limited grasping ability or special needs to open any door.

    Changes in Office Routine

    Office routines may also be affected by your aging patients. Depending on your specialty or the fact that the majority of your patients are elderly, existing systems and processes may need to be updated or completely changed.

    Scheduling office visits is one such aspect. Due to difficulties in comprehension and delays in communication, some older patients require longer office visits than younger patients. Because a patient may require more consultation time than the next, scheduling a longer appointment for each patient regardless of their medical condition may be necessary to ensure that waiting room times do not become excessive.

    Adapting your practice for senior citizens is not a monumental task but it is one that demands careful attention to several aspects of aging. Small changes made with great consideration can make a big difference in how your aging patients experience your care.

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