Here’s my latest article in Long-Term Living Magazine online:
What design features do LTC residents most want?
WITHIN RESIDENT ROOMS
To provide increased control within each room, consider that most nursing home residents have limited mobility and are often in wheelchairs that are difficult to maneuver in small spaces. Residents spend significant amounts of time in bed, unable to get out on their own. While most LTC facilities have mechanical beds that allow residents to adjust themselves as needed, there are many additional aspects of the environment that could be under resident control.
- Room temperature. Many times the call bell is ringing because a resident wants a window opened or closed or wants the air conditioning adjusted. Providing remote controls for the air conditioning and heating system allows the residents to take care of this function and frees staff time for other concerns. If the windows can be opened by remote (or easily opened manually) this improves quality of life, especially because getting outside for fresh air can be such a challenge.
- Large remote control for TV. Residents may have remote controls for their televisions, but have difficulty using them due to overly complicated designs with small buttons and tiny labels. The best remote controls are simple, with large well-labeled buttons, yet are not so heavy that frail elders have trouble holding them. Provide recommendations to family members as part of a good customer service program.
- User-friendly telephone. Similarly, the best telephones are the least complicated. They have large buttons, a loud ringer and speaker, are impervious to liquids and can withstand the inevitable falls that occur during use in long-term care. If families are providing phones, offer them these suggestions because you’re the experts and they’re probably going through this for the first time.