< Back to all rooms
Tool

Overview

Healthcare is moving beyond the walls of the hospital. This is partially due to a growing population of patients who require medical care but are stable enough to be treated at home (including older adults with acute and chronic conditions). Caring for these populations in their own home is more convenient and cost effective than providing that same care in a traditional medical setting. Home environments that support medical care can reduce unnecessary hospitalization, influence health and wellbeing, and help to maintain a person’s independence.

  • Layout - Overall

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; infection control
    Design Strategies
    • Access to sink or alcohol gel dispenser in care areas
    Desirable Outcome(s)(s)
    • Safety; medication safety
    • Efficient delivery of care
    Design Strategies
    • Visual and auditory separation of care area away from distractions (pets, children) when needed citation
    • Access to sink or alcohol gel dispenser in care areas
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    • Minimize undue strain during recovery
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    • Efficient delivery of care
    Design Strategies
    • Maximize open areas around bed, chairs, and primary path of circulation citation
    • Layout that allows for reorganization of space (e.g., easily movable furniture, modular elements) to accommodate changing needs
    • Adequate space for durable medical devices (e.g., hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers) and medical equipment (e.g., oxygen tanks, home-dialysis units, infusion pumps, blood glucose meters, feeding tubes, catheters, commodes, ambulation aids, patient lifts/hoists and specialist equipment) near patient bed to support changing levels of care citation
    • Three-fixture bathroom adjacent to bedroom
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Psychosocial support
    Design Strategies
    • Space for family members to sit with patient without obstructing care citation
    • Space for pets, if appropriate
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Minimize patient stress/anxiety
    Design Strategies
    • Access to positive distractions (e.g., nature-themed artwork, window with views of nature, music, TV, Internet, reading materials)
  • Layout-Caregiver/Clinical Staff Workspace

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Caregiver respite/support
    Design Strategies
    • Space for telesupport systems (telephone support groups, teleconferencing, telepresence systems) for patients and providers to communicate with supervisors/other medical professionals during home visits citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Efficient delivery of care
    • Safety; infection control
    • Safety; medication safety
    Design Strategies
    • Designated well-lit clean “workstation” (e.g., a desk) located in a quiet area away from distractions (e.g., pets, children, visitors) for procedures using sharps or medication preparation citation
    • Safe, easily accessible storage for medications (refrigerated, if needed), supplies, and medical equipment citation
    • Easy-to-access storage and disposal for non-reusable supplies citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Efficient delivery of care
    • Safety; infection control
    Design Strategies
    • Adequate nearby storage for cleaning supplies when needed immediately (e.g., in cases where patient soils the bed/bedroom floor) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Efficient delivery of care
    • Safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    Design Strategies
    • Designated location for medical equipment manuals citation
  • Flooring

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; infection control
    • Minimize undue strain during recovery
    Design Strategies
    • Easy-to-clean materials to reduce surface contamination citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Level, smooth floor surfaces with minimal variations that allow freedom of movement, especially when navigating with medical equipment citation
    • Minimize thresholds (less than ¼ inch vertical, or between ¼ and ½ inch” beveled citation
    • Smooth, non-glare, non-slip or slip-resistant flooring citation
    • Tack down edges of carpets and rugs; remove loose rugs citation
    • Avoid deep pile carpet or loose/worn carpet citation
    • Avoid flooring materials with intricate high-contrast patterns (especially for patients with impaired vision) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Level, smooth floor surfaces with minimal variations that allow for easy push/pull of floor hoists, if needed citation
  • Wall

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Communication/interaction with care provider
    Design Strategies
    • Neutral color (preferably a light blue or light green) background wall for video-conferencing to enhance visibility of patient and enhance flesh tones citation
    • Electric and Internet outlets located conveniently close to the telemedicine equipment so that cords are not laying across walking paths citation
    • Intercom system citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Patient control and independence
    • Patient satisfaction and comfort
    Design Strategies
    • Preprogrammed and easy-to-adjust thermostat citation
    • Outlets 24 inches (min.) off floor citation
    • Light switches lowered to 44inches off floor citation
    • Easy-to-read and easy-to-reach operational (remote) controls for window treatments, lighting, temperature, and audiovisual components (e.g., TV, music) from bed/chair locations
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; risk mitigation
    Design Strategies
    • Defibrillator(s)
    • Small, easy-to-use ABC fire extinguishers mounted in appropriate locations citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    Design Strategies
    • Structural provisions for wall-mounted hoists in areas where space is tight and specific transfers are frequent (e.g., bathroom or bedside) citation
    • Structural provisions for wall-mounted trapeze system(s) (for patients with adequate upper body strength) to hold on to for stability while walking and to assist when sitting up in bed (Note: not recommended for patients with long-term injuries) citation
  • Ceiling

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; risk mitigation
    Design Strategies
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Permanently mounted tracking or semi-portable freestanding overhead frame or pressure-mounted hoist system from floor to ceiling in areas where transfers occur frequently citation
    • Structural provisions for ceiling-mounted trapeze hook(s) (for patients with adequate upper body strength) to hold on to for stability while walking and to assist when sitting up in bed (Note: not recommended for patients with long-term injuries) citation
    • Track-mounted hoists in areas where space is tight and transfers occur frequently (e.g., bed, toilet) citation
  • Windows

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Minimize patient stress/anxiety
    • Patient satisfaction and comfort
    Design Strategies
    • Windows and/or skylight that provide plenty of natural light citation
    • View of outdoor nature/garden
    • Window treatments that allow patient to block/reduce natural light during the day, if needed
    • Easy-to- read and easy-to-reach operational controls for window treatments from bed/chair locations
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; air quality
    Design Strategies
    • Operable windows that can be opened for cross-ventilation, fresh air (minimize openings to reduce risk of disoriented patients going through window) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Support telemedicine
    Design Strategies
    • Teleconference exam area located away from windows or oriented so that windows will not create glare (avoid windows behind patient which may wash out video image or create extreme shadows) citation
  • Doors

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Accessibility; ease of use
    • Safety; fall prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Minimum 36-inch doors citation
    • Minimize thresholds (less than ¼ inch vertical, or between ¼ and ½ inch, beveled citation
    • Easy-to-open doors (consider handle grip, mechanics, and weight of door)
  • HVAC

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; risk mitigation
    • Minimize patient stress/anxiety
    Design Strategies
    • Efficient ventilation to minimize unpleasant odors
    • Air temperature, relative humidity, and flow speed maintained at comfort level without dramatic difference between spaces
    • Reliable and fully functional heating and air conditioning to reduce risk of heatstroke or hypothermia citation
  • Electrical

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; risk mitigation
    • Efficient delivery of care
    Design Strategies
  • Lighting

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Efficient delivery of care
    • Safety; Medication safety
    Design Strategies
    • Moveable and adjustable exam lighting in care area citation
    • Sufficient illumination level for medication dispensing to minimize errors (for any places where medication dispensing is performed by caregiver or patient) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Interior motion lighting/sensor-activated lighting without glare, and/or use nightlights citation
    • Smart home sensor technology to light path from bed to toilet citation
    • Night lighting system that provides both horizontal and vertical cues (e.g., under bed and around doorways) to support postural control and stability citation
    • Amber-colored LED lighting for night lighting so as not to disrupt circadian rhythms citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Support telemedicine exam quality
    Design Strategies
    • Diffuse light located in front of patient to provide even illumination without strong shadows citation
    • Moveable lighting options to illuminate different parts of the patient’s body when using telemedicine devices (e.g., otoscopes) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Patient control and independence
    • Patient satisfaction and comfort
    Design Strategies
    • Light switches lowered to 44 inches off floor citation
    • Lighting (remote) controls accessible from bed or chair
  • Furniture/Accessories

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Minimize patient stress/anxiety
    • Patient satisfaction and comfort
    Design Strategies
    • Positive distractions (e.g., nature-themed artwork, music, TV, Internet, reading materials)
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; infection control
    • Minimize undue strain during recovery
    Design Strategies
    • Easy-to-clean materials to reduce surface contamination citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Efficient delivery of care
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Single electric or hydraulic hospital bed to support care procedures citation
    • Appropriate bed height (low or adjustable height) to support safe transfers
    • Bed with clearance on both sides for caregiver(s) and patient lift, if needed citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Minimize undue strain during recovery
    Design Strategies
    • Appropriate level of firmness for mattress to provide support without contributing to pressure sores
    • Bed positioned for safe entry and exit citation
    • For beds on wheels, lockable wheels citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Patient satisfaction and comfort
    • Psychosocial support
    Design Strategies
    • Space for second bed/sleeping arrangements so couples can continue sleeping in same room, if desired citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    Design Strategies
    • Adjustable lounge chairs with elevated footrest setting, sit-to-stand chairs, or lift chairs containing built-in lift mechanisms, depending on individual patient need for rehabilitation or rest citation
    • Avoid chairs that are too low or deep to promote ability to stand without the need for lift mechanisms
  • Casework/Storage

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Minimize patient stress/anxiety
    Design Strategies
    • Adequate storage space (e.g., cabinet that conceals medical gear) to reduce clutter and maintain domestic aesthetic citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; medication safety
    Design Strategies
    • Safe, easily accessible storage for medications (refrigerated, if needed) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; infection control
    Design Strategies
    • Easy-to-clean materials to reduce surface contamination citation
    • Storage locations for gloves and other personal protective equipment throughout the house, especially in care areas, to facilitate proper safety protocols (e.g., in the event of exposure to blood and other bodily fluids) citation
  • Patient Handling/Movement Equipment

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    Design Strategies
    • Patient lifts (portable or ceiling mounted) and other repositioning devices that support safe ergonomic conditions for patient handling and movement, if needed citation
    • Appropriate portable lifts depending on flooring type: hard surface vs. carpet
    • Ceiling-mounted trapeze hook(s) (for patients with adequate upper body strength) to hold on to for stability while walking and to assist when sitting up in bed (Note: not recommended for patients with long-term injuries) citation
    • Adequate space for two people to assist patient if using hydraulic patient lift citation
    • Repositioning/transfer devices (e.g., rails, transfer bar, vertical poles bolted into floor or ceiling) located near bed, if needed (depending on individual patient condition; consider risks associated with bedrails) citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Caregiver safety; minimize risk of physical injury
    Design Strategies
    • Designated location for patient handling equipment manuals to support caregivers who may be trained to use different equipment in each home citation
  • Technology/Monitoring Equipment/Internet

    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Communication/interaction with care provider
    Design Strategies
    • Wireless or wired Internet connection to facilitate telehealth/telemedicine (video monitoring/conferencing with healthcare providers and support networks, and data transmission for electronic medical records, prescription ordering services, etc.) citation
    • Power, data, and conduit pathways to support telemedicine equipment citation
    • Comfortable setup for personal computer interfaced with patient’s personal health portal citation
    • Monitoring devices (sensors or wearables) to record daily living activities and transmit data to caregivers where data is measured against present targets citation
    • Telemedicine exam equipment such as a laptop with integrated medical devices (e.g., otoscopes, stethoscopes, dermascopes, and ultrasound probes, and vital signs monitors, spirometers, and ECG) allowing split screen viewing between the camera and medical devices citation
    • Teleconferencing screen and camera at eye level near patient to mimic face-to-face encounters citation
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Patient control and independence
    • Psychosocial support
    Design Strategies
    • Voice-activated connectivity to facilitate activities of daily living (e.g., turning lights on/off, changing television channels, making phone calls, playing music, opening/closing doors)
    • Conveniently located portable electronic devices (e.g., phones, tablets, mobile devices) and charging to support easy connection with family, photos, games, etc.
    • Robotic pets to provide companionship citation
    • Opportunities for virtual and augmented reality to connect homebound patients to the outside world
    Desirable Outcome(s)
    • Safety; fall/injury prevention
    • Caregiver safety
    • Communication/interaction with care provider/emergency care
    • Minimize patient stress
    Design Strategies
    • Intercom system and/or voice-activated smartphone technology citation