Background Building design features of residential homes typically follow a medical model in design. This design often includes ‘grab rails’ in common areas to assist older persons with their mobility. This however provides an institutionalised feel rather than a home like environment. Contemporary building design can engineer out these institutionalised falls prevention measures and result in contemporary features that reduce falls incidence.
Description of problem The instance of falls in the elderly are a major contributing factor to physical decline in health status and subsequent increase of physical care needs in a residential aged care environment. The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus has adopted a person centred approach to building design to ensure the living environment is more homely. The building design has engineered rest points and other design features which has substantially reduced the incidence of falls in the elder population group within the environment.
Results Results have indicated a reduction in falls, an increase in physical agility, mobility and dexterity in combination with allied health intervention models. These results have been consistently reviewed and tested experientially over two recent aged care home commissioning of similar size, nature and resident functional status.
Conclusions The strategic design of the living environment can assist with an aesthetically pleasing home like environment for the older person living in residential aged care whilst substantially reducing falls risk. This outcome impacts on quality of life experience and satisfaction of the older person in the residential care environment.
- Falls prevention
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