Picture a care home in the present day, and you’d probably envisage a fairly calm, quiet environment with a peaceful communal lounge and garden.
But those involved in the care industry are looking to change the scenery to focus on the quality of life for an ageing population which is on the increase, and shake the ingrained perceptions which have developed around living in care.
Already there has been a shift, with UK based WCS Care adopting layouts found in the Netherlands, which favour separate household configurations designed to mirror real life as opposed to the “hotel” form which is more familiar at present.
As well as on-site shops, a launderette, kitchens and GP waiting rooms, all of which are designed to give residents comfort in a regular routine and freedom to do as much for themselves as they wish, technology is predicted to feature heavily in the future vision of care.
This technology can be used to light buildings in different colours to assist those living with dementia and monitor the acoustics of residents’ bedrooms to identify strange noises. In Castle Brook, one of WCS Care’s new sites, this means fewer checks by staff and a 30% reduction in falls.
These are just two examples of how digital innovation can serve a purpose in care homes. More elaborate concepts include virtual pets and robotic assistance, both for care tasks and therapeutic means. With increased automation, staff will be able to monitor the wellbeing of residents while allowing them greater independence.
But technology and other innovations, such sun-catching rotating buildings, serve a purpose beyond their practicality as they work in unity with different practices to change our view of what a care home is, or rather what it should be.
Care providers such as WCS are already making great strides in this mission, and with their six outstanding assessments from the Care Quality Commission, perhaps others will be encouraged to follow suit.
If you are a care home provider and you want to know more about insuring your organisation, speak to Jonathan Copley, Head of Care and Social Welfare, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01653 602647.