Costly Design Features Can Pay Off for Skilled Nursing

Melinda P. Avila-Torio, Carlos Moreno, and Alejandro Giraldo show how spending on facility upgrades to meet new standards of disease prevention can save money in the long term by avoiding costly outbreaks that cost operators hundreds of millions of dollars annually.   

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to skilled nursing operators and other health care providers about the dangers of Legionnaires’ disease, an airborne illness that can claim lives — and costsoperators hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Phasing Can Help Save Money

Subliminal Signals: [You can completely eliminate] clinical reminders for staff members through a novel kind of subliminal messaging. Some facilities use screens near sinks that display different calming images — such as trees blowing in the breeze, or a view of a waterfront. Operators can then train their employees to wash their hands every time these images change, eliminating the need for hospital-style placards or verbal cues, said Carlos Moreno, a managing director at the senior housing- and health care-focused THW.

Of course, these fancy upgrades come with a price tag, but THW senior designer Alejandro Giraldo said that some operators phase in disease-fighting design elements gradually to save money and test new ideas.“You can have three or four units that could have specific infection control components built in, and that’s something you can manage in a project instead of the whole project,” Giraldo said.  And Avila-Torio noted that some operators could look at it as an insurance policy against the costs associated with a serious disease outbreak.

To read the full article by Alex Spanko click here: