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Accelerator: Workshop 2. Report from Table 6 – Places of Care. Lead: Alison Machin

Posted by Steph Oxley (Admin) 1 month ago

Question: How might we use innovations in construction, building design and digital technologies to help address some of the key challenges around care, promoting independence and effective communication?

Participants were asked to think of how they perceive buildings which cater for older people. What tools/aids/conversions/adjustments spring to mind? Consider building design, kitchen design, bathroom design, general functional space.

This table attracted large of participants. 16 in total. 3 representing companies, 3 carers for family members, 3 from design/build organisations, 2 health product inventors, 2 from 3rd sector organisations, 2 small business owners, 1 university representative

The first two exercises consisted in identifying the issues currently with places of care, whether this was the home, care homes, hospitals etc.   

The issues highlighted were grouped as follows:

  1. Built environment
  2. Social environment
  3. Safety
  4. Support aids/products

 The next few exercises aimed at considering what the key issues were with existing provision around the 4 groups highlighted above.



Key Issues

Social Environment in places of care

-        Loss of peers/loneliness

-        Lack of interests or access to activities leads to decline

-        Lack of social life in care homes

-        Some people won’t visit because of the depressing environment

-        Too uniform – people are not the same therefore more activities ought to be available

-        Bright lights, too quiet, too warm, to calm

-        Not always inclusive as care home residents have differing abilities


Built environment/design

-        Not adaptable to changing needs

-        Cost of retrofitting

-        Often poorly located in community

-        Cost is a limiting factor

-        Complexity of construction/conversion

-        Visible equipment/adjustments indicates vulnerable person lives in the property

-        Aesthetics are uninspiring and often perceived as institutional

-        Sometimes require major renovation or remodelling and struggle for where to put elderly while adjustments being implemented


Support aids/products

-        One size fits all – should be more adaptable

-        Too old fashioned and not subtle in design

-        Availability and opportunity to try alternatives

-        Poor design, appear institutional

-        Most are temporary ‘added on’ aids but could be designed better into all places for all ages



-        Too many access codes to remember

-        Care alarms not efficient

-        Poor signage

-        False alarms

-        Perceived complexity of usage of some products/devices


 The final part of the workshop was focused on ideation to overcome the described issues currently being experience in places of care. Several ideas were explored and two selected for presentation.

  1. Modular, self-contained, living space that is mobile and could be set up anyway to enable the user to live independently but close to family or care environment – incorporated standardised features so occupier wouldn’t become disorientated, it had smart technology to capture data and to analyse patterns to prevent accidents or illness
  2. Smart tech device in homes and care homes, ‘Alexa’ type device specifically designed for care needs and focused on the individual
  3. Blue Moon Radio – radio for elderly to include personalised playlists – using existing technology but focus on giving care home patients personal choice
  4. Memory Life – secure, cloud-based memory vault – to create hard copy collections from digital library to include voice and imagery plus products such as personalised games
  5. Artist in residence in care homes
  6. Tablet based care plan for active monitoring of water and medication
  7. Near Field Communication wrist or pendant for door access including for family members and guests
  8. Finger print access technology for care homes

 The two shortlisted ideas were:

  • (1) Modular, self-contained, living space
  • (4) Memory Life memory vault

 The group had little time to shortlist their ideas and therefore were keen to communicate all of them for the next stage of the Accelerator.

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