»Empathy for the Aged By Amy Eagle

»Keeping it Clean By Amy Eagle

Hospital executives have gone to various lengths to try to see their facilities as patients see the space. Some have gone as far as touring parts of their facilities on a gurney. This empathy and concern for the patient experience is laudable.

Of course, such exercises don't account for the different ages of patients. If so, there would be a lot more attention paid to the needs of our nation's aging population.

The enormity of this trend was underscored in a study conducted by the Pew Research Center. The study found that every day since Jan. 1, 2011, 10,000 baby boomers have turned 65. By 2030, nearly one in five Americans (18 percent) will be 65 or older.

The implications of these numbers are staggering for those who design, build and care for health care facilities. Every aspect of hospital design — from finishes to wayfinding to lighting to flooring — needs to be evaluated carefully with an aging population in mind.

In our opening report in this installment of Interiors, "Empathy for the Aged," contributing writer Amy Eagle talks with a variety of interior designers, architects and suppliers about the best way to deliver facilities that meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's elderly.

In our second report, "Keeping it Clean," we examine the latest products and interior design approaches that support infection-prevention efforts. The report covers nonporous surface materials to inhibit the growth of microbes in patient care areas, furniture designs that provide for easy cleaning while eliminating cracks and crevices, dispensers for waterless hand sanitizers and more.

Sweating the design details on issues like infection prevention and providing a safer environment for the elderly will help hospitals in the transition to value-based care.

Bob Kehoe
Associate Publisher,
Health Facilities Management


A note of acknowledgment

The editors would like to thank the many vendors and health care design firms who participated in this supplement. The following sources provided images used in the project.

Acuity Brands Inc. (Atlanta), Armstrong Commercial Flooring (Lancaster, Pa.), Cannon Design (Chicago), C/S Eldercare Interiors (Brookfield, Wis.), Earl Swensson Associates Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.), Francis Cauffman (Philadelphia), Herman Miller Healthcare (Zeeland, Mich.), Hygreen Inc. (Gainesville, Fla.), Interface (LaGrange, Ga.), Mincey Marble Manufacturing Inc. (Gainesville, Ga.), Sharklet Technologies Inc. (Aurora, Colo.), Silikal America (Carrollton, Ga.), Stanley Beaman & Sears (Atlanta).