The Care Center at Grand River Health District is a replacement building offering a modern, social experience for eighty-seven individuals in need of skilled nursing and memory care. The new building replaces an outdated 1960s era nursing home designed for fifty residents using a traditional style of care. Located on the Western Slope of Colorado, the remote nature of this small town creates a close community who want to provide honorable care for their elders. The design provides access to daylight and views, intimate outdoor spaces, and relates to the scale of surrounding homes. Materials were selected by blending the hospital’s palette with the adjacent residential homes and a slight nod to simple, clean Scandinavian design.
The client, the design team, and the builder all collaborated to discover and create a better solution for the seniors in this region. Oriented toward enhancing the resident experience, the overall concept strives to create a comprehensive lifestyle for those that no longer function within the greater community. From the beginning of the project, the client aspired to provide a different philosophy of care from the all-too-common traditional methodology. The new concept focuses on de-institutionalizing the nursing home by creating a more home-like experience. Our task as designers and builders was to translate this vision into an architectural solution, creating a setting encouraging person centered care. Each decision in the design and construction process was measured toward this shared vision.
Having a person-centered model of care promotes a healthy focus on the resident’s individual experience and not what is most convenient for staff. This provides ownership of lifestyle choices empowering each resident to select their own priorities during this important period of their lives.
In the heart of each neighborhood is a common gathering space with a kitchen, dining, and living space; which becomes the primary source of human connection.
The five neighborhoods are connected to a central hub, lovingly nicknamed the town square. This area provides amenities such as physical therapy, salon services and artistic activities all organized and designed to simulate the act of going downtown. Residents leave their neighborhoods and commune in the commercial sector, where gathering and civic experience can be replicated. This core function is a resource for all residents and serves as a reminder they live within a larger context with activities, events and the hustle and bustle of a vibrant community.