IN JUST ONE YEAR, COVID-19 HAS CHANGED HOW WE MUST BUILD OUR SENIORS RESIDENCES FROM NOW ON
West Vancouver, BC, March 11, 2021: One year ago, we all learned from Dr. Bonnie Henry that our lives were about to change radically with new restrictions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Today, vaccines are ready and being given – but more than 1300 British Columbians have died from the coronavirus, largely seniors.
Since COVID-19 became a public emergency a year ago, Baptist Housing also came to accept that the pandemic will have a permanent impact on how we must design and build our long-term care homes for seniors in the future.
Baptist Housing became acutely aware of this over the past year as plans were laid to revitalize and expand the Inglewood Care Centre long term care (LTC) residence in West Vancouver. Infection control has always been critical, yet now it has become a centrepiece and integral part of Inglewood’s new design and there’s no looking back. Baptist Housing is a non-profit organization with 55 years’ experience. It operates 21 seniors residences in B.C. and took over Inglewood in February 2020, right before COVID-19 took hold.
The revitalization plan calls for replacement of the existing 57-year-old LTC building and then adding a further mix of seniors housing to it. Inglewood’s new LTC design means residents and team members will be able to avoid unnecessary contact as much as possible with other team members and residents, especially during viral outbreaks.
“One of the key learnings of COVID-19 has been that our behaviour outside of work, in our communities and with the people that we’re close to, affects everyone around us at work, especially the seniors that we serve,” says Marc Kinna, president and CEO of Baptist Housing. “Not only has off-duty conduct become a life-and-death issue, but how we accommodate those coming from home to work will be important in terms of not bringing in viruses in the future.”
Among design elements created in direct response to our learnings from COVID-19:
- Separated entry/exit flows to allow team members to enter through one door, don PPE and take an elevator to the households, and exit through a separate entrance to minimize contact with team members entering the building at shift change.
- Change areas to allow team members change from street clothes into PPE and work clothing.
- A covered loading dock allowing truck drivers to make deliveries without entering the building.
- A visiting room with glazed doors so residents can visit with family members without being in the same room and sharing the same airspace during times of viral outbreak.
- Private rooms for everyone with an attached three-piece bathroom, so each resident is able to attend to personal hygiene with privacy.
- Greater access to natural light, to allow for more natural disinfection from solar rays.
- Each “household” within the complex can function independently allowing housekeeping and items like linen and cutlery etc. to be separated.