In this partnership with a long term care center in the Greater Toronto Area, to generate some interventions to reduce the amount of falls that take place in their facility.
Our class took a spatial design approach, observing how the space is used and identifying opportunities for intervention within the facility.
The project sponsor informed us that the majority of falls in the facility took place in patient rooms. Unfortunately, we were unable to interact with any older adults in the facility so it was difficult to see what behaviour was like in the rooms. However, site staff and secondary research gave some insight into how falls might happen in the rooms.
Watching the hallways gave insight into how patients move throughout the hallways, but also how staff monitor and interact with patients.
The information gathered from observations was compiled, then reviewed for and grouped by themes.
Talking with the staff allowed us to fill gaps in our knowledge and verify our observation findings. These interviews were short and semi-structured, often requiring us to meet the staff on a break or in between appointments with residents. >Following the interviews, we met as a class and discussed the findings so far.
The themes from the findings and resulting discussion were distilled into a guiding principles to inform our design suggestions:
Since falls are unpredictable, and the staff informed us that this mostly happens in the rooms, the team I was on made recommendations to give the patient more agency and control over their environment. Patients may withold information from staff members if they feel that it will threaten their autonomy. Giving residents a sense of agency will help them open up to the staff, as well as create a sense of calm and reduced frustration with their new environment.
Our recommendations and process can be found in detail here.
The final recommendations identified which of the guiding principles they covered, as well as an estimated feasibility of the specific recommendation.
The recommendations were presented to a multidisciplinary audience and we fielded questions from anyone interested