Kathryn Gundry, associate at architectural practice and Thames Tap partner West Waddy Archadia, explains changes needed in design of care homes as a result of lessons learned from mistakes of the pandemic.

Covid will change our perception of the care setting and West Waddy Archadia have researched the narrative to highlight positives that can be learned following the pandemic. 

We have had the most testing time in history, with the care sector mainly left to its own devices and with very little Government support. If care home design can safely accommodate visitors and create homely environments, then care settings will reduce loneliness.

However, we need to look at integrating our care homes into the wider community, creating shared spaces that encourage interaction.

Will the effects of Covid-19 have long-term changes to people wanting to downsize?

Keeping a house with rooms in which to isolate – and with a garden – will be more important than ever as lockdown restrictions end.

HAPPI (Housing for an Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) advocates a better standard of design to new built housing but is there also an opportunity to adapt our existing housing stock to meet HAPPI standards through reduced occupancy whilst maintaining cost effectiveness?

Our recent research considers housing and how to improve it now. In terms of the care setting, we focus on how we can redesign the ‘traditional’ floor plan to create Covid secure buildings without reducing people’s freedom to go to shared spaces and see family and friends.

These changes could be in corridor design, multipurpose spaces, guest suites, community hubs and the scale and character of outdoor spaces.  We need to focus on the domestic scale and creating scenarios for safe interaction.

For the full report visit https://wwa-studios.com/wp-content/uploads/West-Waddy-Archadia-Lesson-Isolation1.pdf

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