Industries influence each other all the time. Trends from one industry may begin overlapping with another, and vice versa. The end result of this can be new innovations or fresh perspectives.
For healthcare facility design, there are a few industries influencing trends, but none as much as the hospitality market.
“I think that there is a lot of overlap from different industries, but what we are finding is we are bringing a lot of hospitality aspects into our senior living/healthcare projects,” says Blima Ehrentreu, founder and CEO of The Designers Group. “So, for example, we designed an urgent care and approached it from a spa perspective. When you are getting stitches, it is an experience that gives you anxiety and makes you nervous. However, when you get a facial or any type of skin treatment or a massage, it is a luxurious experience. So, we kind of took those aspects of what you will have in a spa, and we brought that into the urgent care.”
Similar design ideas and trends are being applied to senior care facilities, too.
"With any of our lobbies, we do these beautiful receptions with these nice reception desks, areas and lounges,” says Ehrentreu. “We are also putting in spas and different hospitality-like aspects so that when people are in a senior living facility, they feel like they are in a hotel.”
There are additional ideas and concepts Ehrentreu says they are incorporating into the design of senior care facilities. These are things such as:
- Biophilic designs
- Natural lighting
- Smart technology, including temperature control, fall detection, and medication reminders
- Flexible furniture solutions
- Pop-up retail
- Open kitchens
This is all an effort to create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere for senior care communities.
“The hospitality-like feel is even in the residence rooms by making them feel less like a hospital – less sterile and more comfortable – where the reason people are picking certain facilities to stay in is from the experience perspective,” says Ehrentreu. “So, we really want people to have that amazing experience even if they are rehabilitating or getting to the point of retirement.”
Through creating that type of experience, senior care facilities are aiming to put their residents at ease and help them feel at home. This new approach to design, inspired and influenced by the hospitality industry, is picking up steam. As these trends continue to grow and develop, the old stigma of senior care facilities is being challenged. What once may have been seen as cold and unavoidable could now be seen as a desirable option.
Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market.