Levels of Care
The senior housing industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Historically facilities were more institutional-like in nature where a single care model was assumed. Senior living facilities have transformed into an array of care models ranging from active adult retirement housing to memory care units, rehabilitation facilities and entire communities that offer a continuum of care. Even though federal laws impact senior living facilities, oversight still occurs at the state level. Laws, procedures and licensure vary between care models, facility type, construction approach and from state-to-state. This makes the design of a new facility, an addition to an existing facility or remodeling a senior living facility a challenging task.
Having an understanding of the diverse levels of care and their code requirements, while maintaining an end user approach, is key to designing a successful senior care environment. One that accommodates the various needs of each specific care model and allows flexibility to customize the care for each individual resident. Selecting the appropriate design elements with code requirements and best practices in mind seamlessly communicates the overall design intent for the facility and is critical for success.
Today’s senior living facilities are more complicated due to individualized care, the continuous expansion and evolution of care models as well as market demands. Working within the diverse code requirements to ensure everyone’s health and safety as well as providing an identifiable home for each resident is the key to success. Understanding the current code requirements and senior living design models allows well designed projects to secure government approval significantly faster which keeps projects moving forward.