Air Force Villages, San Antonio, Texas – Perkins Eastman Designs

Patient-Centered Care began over three decades ago and shifted the focus from the scientific care model centered around technology, hospital and doctor to therapeutic modalities. Angelica Thoruet, inspired and later founded Planetree organization when, as a patient she was appalled at her impersonal experience in the hospital . A native of South America, Angelica knew she could get compassionate care in her native country and be involved in her diagnosis and healing, however, she would not receive the level of advanced medicine practice offered in the states. Planetree’s pioneering of human centered principals led the way for many healthcare facilities, practitioners and designers to view care in a different way.

The patriarchal culture of yesterday has ‘flattened” in our family structure, the workplace and even the church. Availability of knowledge via the internet, the young having an advantage over adults in their intuitive grasp of technology, women and minority equality all have created the shifts. Health care has undergone this paradigm shift as well. Within the last five years “culture change” has become the buzz in the senior care industry, following on the heels of the Eden Alternative and Greenhouse models. The shift we see in both hospitals and senior care facilities are care teams that involve the family as part of the team. I have seen my own friends and family become involved in the caretaking of loved ones in the hospital as never before. The transition in hospital waiting hours, semi-private rooms, and hospital food options are noteworthy.

So, if the senior market lags behind the hospital model in adoption, what will the new long term care facility look like? More like a home than a cruiseship? With appreciation to the Rothschild Foundation and others, changes incorporated into NFPA 101 Life Saftey Code in 2012 allow – among other things – kitchens serving thirty residents or less to be open to a corridor or other space and have cooktops and stoves. Design, when not held captive by these restrictive codes allows greater ease in creating a “home-like” environment. The positive memories evoked for a 90 year old resident in long term care, enticed by the aroma and activity of seeing food cooked in such a personal, familiar way is….. ageless.