Consider Patient Security in Nursing Home Design
For multiple reasons Nursing Homes and Aged Care Facilities should install security systems tailored to the needs of their residents.
This can greatly reduce the burden placed on their nursing staff to be in multiple places at once, while maintaining excellent levels of patient care.
Nursing homes serve patients requiring preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitative nursing care services for non-acute, long-term conditions. Most residents are frail and aged, but not bedridden, although often using canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. Stays are relatively long, the majority for life. Nursing homes also care for a smaller percentage of convalescent patients of all ages. These patients are in long-term recovery from acute illnesses, but no longer require hospitalization.
This begs the question, with so many people to care for, how can nursing homes and aged care facilities maintain the safety and security of their residents, without over burdening their nursing staff or effective levels of patient care?
Designing responsive and protective aged care facility
Nursing homes present special design challenges in that for most residents the nursing home is not just a facility, but indeed their home. The challenge is to design a nursing home that is sensitive and responsive to long-term human needs both psychically and emotionally. In addition,facilities also take into consideration the emotional needs of residents loved ones and carers in ‘the outside world.’
Physically, residents are susceptible to falls and injury and with multiple residents moving about the facility at any one time, it can mean nursing staff are required to keep an eye over more than one are at the same time. The addition of CCTV and Video security can greatly assist with this by enabling staff to have a clear visual of multiple areas of the facility at any one time.
This greatly increases the comfort levels of both staff and residents, and gives family members added peace of mind their loved ones are being looked after, even when they can’t be there.
Managing emotional needs with aged care security systems is a different story
For many residents who are still of able mind and body, but may be recovering from illness or injury, the presence of security cameras and alarms may feel slightly obtrusive. In their mind, many of these residents are still very capable of caring for themselves, and don’t want to be told otherwise. In this case, a video camera security system that is out of sight, is out of mind.
So ideally facilities have the responsibility and the care to balance the families need for ‘a watchful eye’ with the residents need for dignity.
Fortunately today’s security systems are aesthetically appealing and can blend in discreetly with most building layouts and design.
Building attributes that factor in to nursing home security
A nursing home operates primarily in a patient-care mode rather than a medical mode. Consequently, its more important attributes are those focused on the general well-being and care of residents and their livelihood.
The principal attributes of a well designed nursing home are:
- Give spaces a homelike, rather than institutional feel, ideally by keeping security systems and high tech devices discreetly hidden
- Promote traditional residential qualities of privacy, choice, control, and personalization of one’s immediate surroundings
- Alleviate possible disorientation of residents by providing differences between “residential neighborhoods” of the nursing home, and by use of clocks, calendars, and other “reminders”
- Encourage resident autonomy by making their spaces easy to find, identify, and use
The nursing home design should:
- Promote staff efficiency by minimizing distance of necessary travel between frequently used spaces
- Allow easy visual supervision of patients by minimal staff
- Make efficient use of space by locating support spaces so they may be shared by adjacent functional areas, and by making prudent use of multi- purpose spaces
Additionally, design to address security and safety concerns of nursing homes includes:
- Use of non-reflective and non-slip floors to avoid falls
- Control of access to hazardous spaces
- Control of exits to avoid residents leaving and becoming lost or injured
- Provision of secure spaces to safeguard facility supplies and personal property of residents and staff
Security is just one of the many issues faced by Aged Care Facilities on a daily basis in the effort to keep residents safe and happy.