Inside Design for Care - Covid friendly design
Interior design is a constantly evolving field and design for care is no different. With every project at Kelly Wilson Interiors we are looking for ways to enhance our designs for residents staff and their families.
Covid-19 has thrown an additional challenge at us with regard to the way we think about care home design, our most recent projects have been adapted to incorporate solutions to allow social distancing, safe visiting and infection control. Our belief is that good interior design that addresses problems, along with mindful product sourcing, can make a significant contribution towards reducing the spread of Covid-19. We thought we would share a few of our ideas with you.
From the outset it is important to consider the requirements of everyone who will be living in and visiting the home from residents, staff and families to medics and delivery drivers.
For existing homes consideration should be given to how the home currently operates, have a think about the following:
Can residents, staff, and visitors use separate entrances and exits?
Can regular deliveries come into the home through a designated entrance perhaps back of house?
Would it be possible to operate the home by dividing it into smaller resident communities?
Is there a room you can designate for visitors, perhaps with an external entrance to reduce traffic through the main home and an optional Perspex screen as required
Alma Barn, Advinia
For new build projects it is important to understand the clients’ requirements, how they plan to operate the home and to involve all parties from an early stage so that any ideas to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be shared and implemented. If Covid-19 solutions are in place during the initial design process they can be cleverly designed so they are part of the build rather than an afterthought.
Additional design considerations for both existing homes and new builds are:
Allow for Reception desk sneeze screens
Make good use of accessible technology such as video calling
Look at furniture layouts in communal spaces, in dining areas consider smaller sittings to allow for space around the tables, in lounges provide smaller groups of seating and increase the space between furniture
Consider end of corridor areas as additional seating areas to allow smaller groups of people to sit together
Try and provide good ventilation and fresh air to any communal spaces where possible
Consider the therapeutic benefits of uplifting colour schemes, comfortable furniture, appropriate artwork, and accessories which can contribute towards wellbeing of everyone living and working within the home
Think about how office space within the home is used, consider individual office spaces if possible and where furniture is placed in communal offices to allow social distancing
Consider a well placed piece of furniture in the reception foyer for sanitiser, wipes and signing in book, this could also house any additional supplies as required to avoid running out
Alma Barn, Advinia Alma Barn, Advinia
With regards to infection control there are several areas within the home that interior designers can consider which may help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
Hard surfaces such as door handles and furniture products need to be non-porous and easy to clean, for example a wood effect melamine is a good surface for a table top as it is less porous than wood
Bedlinen, upholstery and curtain fabrics should all be anti-microbial and easy to clean
Where appropriate consider carpets which are inherently anti-microbial such as Danfloor, these are easier and quicker to clean than a vinyl flooring, dust is held by carpet rather than sitting on surface of vinyl
There are a huge range of anti-microbial vinyl wall coverings available, consider using these to create feature walls and areas of interest in the home
Bishops Cleeve, Advinia
And finally don’t forget how important outdoor spaces are with more and more people preferring to meet up outdoors if they can.
Improve and encourage the use of outdoor spaces such as cabins and summer houses with screens for visitors and plenty of garden furniture
Provide outdoor facilities such raised beds for vegetables, outdoor games, create sensory garden with lavender, herbs, birdboxes and bird baths and plant for each season planting to provide colour and interest throughout the year
Foxhunters, Dormy Care Communities