Boomer FM in Healthcare? Try Environments for Aging .11

March 2, 2011

Environments for Aging .11, offers strategies and ideas for creating attractive and functional living and healthcare environments that meet the needs of an aging population. Baby Boomers, becoming more averse to the aging process, are expecting healthcare experiences that don’t make them feel old. Their active lifestyles seek alternative healthcare measures such as state-of-the-art facilities that usher in imaginative, patient-centered care.  Baby boomers seek healthcare facilities that are dedicated to fostering community independence, wellness, and choice. For example, the Laguna Honda Hospital integrates individual needs and preferences with the efficiencies afforded by a single, integrated organization. During the session, participants will identify concepts in hospital design that promote healing, independence and wellness and explore the benefits of intergenerational activities, animal therapy, gardening, and art that contribute to a patient’s reconnection to self and community. Laguna Honda, a beacon of patient-centered care, will provide benchmarks that can be applied to any facility.

In Atlanta, March 20-22, Environments for Aging .11 attendees will network with peers while learning the latest innovations and best practices in the design of long-term elder-care facilities and residential care settings. Attendees will share common goals and innovations as well as building, architecture and design best practices.

Learning Labs are designed to provide attendees with information, case studies, and research findings on a myriad of topics. The speakers will offer presentations with opportunities for Q & A. Topics include:

  • Considerations for effective aging environments
  • Innovations in design for positive outcomes
  • Solutions that enhance the human experience
  • Future-focused models leading change
  • Trends toward independence and wellness
  • Lessons learned from across the globe
  • Understanding the research and regulatory mindset

Sessions of specific interest to healthcare facility planners and administrators include: Urban Planning Beyond the Hospital—A Collaboration With Our Community, Consumers and Business; Benchmarking Senior Care Facilities with ENERGY STAR’s New Energy Performance Scale; Independence, Wellness and Choice at Laguna Honda Hospital; Constructing a Road Map for Culture Change in Long Term Care—A National Stakeholder Perspective; Are We Keeping Up? —Bridging the Gap Between Research and Design for Environments for the Aging; Designing Long-Term Care Facilities—Lessons Learned from China; Criteria for Floorcovering in Senior Living Environments—An Evidenced-Based Design Approach; and Sustainable Systems Design—Reducing Your Impact on the Environment While Improving Your Bottom Line.

Facilities managers, architects, owners and developers will attend Environments for Aging .11  along with design professionals, product manufacturers, government officials, and gerontologists and other aging experts. For more information,


Interpreters in the ED Prove to Reduce Wait Time

August 2, 2010

Patients who are not proficient in English and provided with professionally trained, in-person interpreters in the emergency department report higher satisfaction with their communication in the Emergency Department, as do the physicians treating them, according to the results of a randomized controlled trial released at the end of July online in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Examining Effectiveness of Medical Interpreters in Emergency Departments for Spanish-Speaking Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial”).

“The magnitude of the difference was striking: Patients who had professional in-person interpreters were four times more likely to be satisfied than patients who didn’t,” said lead study author Ann Bagchi, Ph.D. of Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, NJ. “The results were the same for physicians and nurses, which could be important for reducing staff burnout and errors. The improved quality of care can also reduce the likelihood that a patient will return to the ER for the same health problem.”

The increase in patients whose ability to speak English is limited has led to hospitals using a variety of interpretation methods for these patients. They include using a family member as an interpreter, using a member of the hospital staff as an ad hoc interpreter or using simultaneous interpretation via headphones (also known as the UN model). This study used interpreters who had received training in medical interpreting and were dedicated to the emergency department for purposes of the study.

“Professional interpreters can improve efficiency and throughput in the ER and can shorten overall length of stay, an important consideration in view of Press Ganey’s recent report showing a new high in the average amount of time people are spending in the ER,” said study co-author Robert Eisenstein, M.D., FACEP, vice chair of the department of emergency medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. “Using the same interpreter from triage to discharge creates continuity of care and also ensures that we are not missing anything important when talking to the patient. It has the potential to help us get a more accurate patient assessment on arrival in the emergency department as well as better patient compliance with discharge instructions because the patient actually understands what we’re telling them to do.”

Dr. Bagchi discussion of the study on Dr. Leigh Vinocur’s radio program, 911: Emergency Talk Radio was held on July 30th . The recorded podcast is at

Designs on Healthcare Reform

March 14, 2010

While we are days away from the Congressional vote on health care reform in the U.S., health care facility managers and hospital administrators are evaluating what types of urgent patient care  their facilities are equipped to handle.  With the potential for a dramatic increase in the number of patients to be covered, institutions have to determine the type of care they will deliver. Administrators are taking stock of what they have, considering the care and services that neighboring institutions are known for, and determining what will be their area of specialty.

Healthcare facilities that specialize in a few diseases may alleviate the stress on primary-type care facilities that expect an influx of patients. Once a patient’s illness is determined, they can be sent to the specialty facility.  For institutions already known for their imaging abilities, treatment of specific cancers, or kidney transplants, for example, their management is expanding on these strengths and publicizing them.  Healthcare reform measures have already raised consumer awareness regarding the quality of care at different facilities. Consumers are attuned to well-maintained facilities and design that speaks to patient- and family-centered care.

Hundreds of hospitals have designed plans to deal with a surge of patients arriving at the Emergency Department (ED), and most are sitting on the plans until they know how healthcare reform will translate.  Do you expand the ED or wait and see if the expanded coverage gets more people aligned with a primary-care physician? What we do know is that uninsured or minimally insured people have become accustomed to relying on the ED instead of having access to preventative medicine.  This is why prevention is a central issue in the healthcare reform discussion.

Let’s hope the next few weeks guide the industry to progress that will allow healthcare administrators to make decisions about their facilities with confidence that they have chosen the right path. Healthcare facilities executives, architects and designers have been waiting and they are ready to forge ahead with designs for expansion and improved services–plans that are good for the economy and good for healthcare in America.


October 27, 2009

Just a quick glance at the educational session content will let you know that the HEALTHCARE DESIGN.09 conference starting in Orlando this weekend is far-reaching beyond the design of the healthcare built environment. Consider session titles such as Form Follows Finance: Health Facility Development in a Time of Scarce Credit.  This is a 2-hour deep dive session will share perspectives and strategies from leading healthcare strategic planners, CEOs and CFOs of major medical centers and health systems. How Integrated Project Delivery Can Transform the Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities looks into how IPD was applied at BJC HealthCare. BJC adopted IPD with the goal of improving the construction process for new healthcare facilities, and has recently completed its first IPD project: a new patient tower, pharmacy, and medical outpatient building addition at BJC Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Peters, Missouri.

Further, Re-Prioritizing and Re-Evaluating Your Master Facility Plan focuses on re-assessing financial capacity and capital spending priorities and provides a framework for re-evaluating what projects are necessary, cost-effective, and ultimately beneficial. FMs learn how to re-prioritize and re-evaluate the master facility plan and identify what programs can and should be implemented in light of the economic downturn.

At a time when retention of talented staff is critical to hospital functions, the conference wisely looks at transforming the delivery of care in “Designing for Your Staff–The Forgotten Consumers” where research will be presented to understand what hospitals and research centers are doing to enhance their workplace. The presenters will reveal the top environmental amenities that make a difference with staff, and in turn, patient care and research.

The information presented should help healthcare FMs with difficult planning decisions. If you’re not able to attend, this is a conference to watch and plan for in 2010.

You can keep up with more industry news by reading the McMorrow Healthcare Facilties Management Report’s e-newsletters.

Eileen McMorrow

Editor & Publisher