With high caregiver turnover rates in senior care and uncertainty during the pandemic, many Senior Living providers are looking for ways to improve caregiver safety and satisfaction. As we examine emerging senior housing trends during COVID-19, we’re seeing the need for reimagined Senior Living staff entry and lounge areas. 

Updating the staff entry sequence can play an important role in helping you flex your operations during health crises. Separate staff entries and enhanced amenities can help with: 

Infection prevention: By separating staff entries, contaminated clothing and personal items are kept out of resident areas.

Senior Living Staff Entry and Lounge

Staff retention: Enhancing staff spaces and offering extra services can help boost caregiver satisfaction and lead to more meaningful interactions with residents. 

Caregiver burnout: Beautiful and functional staff spaces can demonstrate your commitment to improving staff well-being. 

Gaurie Rodman

Gaurie Rodman

Director, Development Services

“Senior Living is a people business. The quality of human relationships, the feeling of safety, and the amount of anxiety a resident or staff member feels all contribute to their satisfaction. In times of crisis, making sure all parties’ needs, both within the community and outside, are addressed in an effective manner becomes even more important.”

“Our approach to staff entry and space bridges the need to keep frail residents safe while ensuring we meet the day-to-day needs of our employees so they can perform at their best.”

Here are three trends in Senior Living design that will help you transform staff spaces:

1. Staff Entries & Vestibules 

Consider where your staff currently enters the building. If their entrance leads into a shared resident space, you may want to reconsider your staff entry sequence to help with infection prevention. 

Creating a separate entry for staff and deliveries can allow employees to clean up before and after their shifts. Key design objectives in these separate staff vestibules include: 

Controlled and Touchless Entry

To ensure safety, the staff and deliveries entry will need touchless access control and security systems. There is an array of touchless technologies that can be used in this space. For example, consider technology that allows you to wave your hand in front of a sensor to open the door. 

Discover more technology to help you fight COVID-19.

Health Screening Technology

Housing thermal temperature scanners¹ and other health screening technology in the vestibule will help ensure staff members are healthy before they interact with residents. The vestibule would also be an ideal spot for the time clock. 

Delivery Lockers

Adding delivery lockers, including refrigerated options, near the entry allows staff to place orders for deliveries or have community-provided food and groceries left for them. Including a touchless intercom system can alert staff to deliveries. 

These design elements can help keep staff separated from residents until they have been screened and are ready for their shift. 

2. Staff Lockers and Showers

After the entry and vestibule, we recommend adding staff lockers and showers. These amenities not only help boost staff retention, but they are also key in an infection prevention protocol. Housing the lockers and showers in the separate staff area allows staff to decontaminate and prepare for a shift. During a health crisis, this would be an excellent spot to distribute PPE. 

Senior Living Bathroom
Key design elements in the locker room include: 

  • An entry in the locker room from the staff vestibule
  • Individual staff storage lockers to keep personal belongings
  • A uniform laundering area to ensure fresh uniforms are readily available 
  • Showers and restrooms
  • A separate exit into the resident corridor
Erin Berry

Erin Berry

Director, Interior Design

“Creating a separate locker room with showers, very similar to something you might see at your gym, would allow the employees to decontaminate and store their personal belongings away from residents. Uniforms could also be provided as an extra added safety measure. These uniforms could be laundered and hung in the locker rooms for staff at the start of their shift.”

3. Staff Lounges & Amenities

As your community’s front line, the health of your senior home caregivers affects the health of your residents. Enhanced amenities, like a relaxing lounge, give staff a space to rest and recharge before returning to work. These amenities can help you attract and retain employees as well. 

Key design elements in an enhanced staff lounge include: 

Kitchenette

Providing staff with an in-house kitchen allows them to grab a snack or beverage when needed. Plus, it can help with efficiency because they won’t need to leave your building for a meal.

Private Space

Offer a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of your community. These spots are great for computer access and private phone conversations. 

Fitness Room

A dedicated staff fitness room can help boost employee well-being and mental health. By offering a small selection of workout equipment, you can help your staff reduce stress.

Natural Light

Taking cues from biophilic design, which promotes connectivity to the natural environment, flooding staff spaces with natural light can help boost morale. 

Access to Outdoor Space

Similarly, we recommend offering dedicated outdoor space for staff to enjoy during their breaks. 

Dr. Yavuz Taneli

Dr. Yavuz Taneli

Architectural Designer

“Access to a green outdoor environment has significant benefits in reducing employee stress and promoting a positive workplace attitude. On average, most employees spend only 15 minutes of their workday outdoors. This is only half the time needed to reset our circadian rhythm, the mechanism that regulates sleep, blood pressure and body temperature.” 

“We owe it to our employees to provide restorative opportunities to allow them to be energized and engaged in meaningful social interactions. Our own research has shown the positive impact of resident-caregiver interaction in reducing agitation in populations with compromised cognitive abilities.”

Discover more ways to enhance your staff amenities in our design trends webinar.

The Bottom Line 

Reimagining staff entries and lounge areas not only helps with infection prevention, but it also shows your commitment to staff health and well-being. Our Senior Living design and construction experts can help you implement innovative senior housing design strategies like these, so you can adapt to the future of the Senior Living industry. For more insights into emerging trends during the pandemic, explore our COVID-19 series

Schedule a call to discuss your COVID-19 strategy, or reach out with any questions on the latest senior housing design trends. 

¹This is not a medical device. Statements regarding this temperature device have not been evaluated by the FDA. This temperature device should not be solely or primarily relied upon to diagnose or exclude a diagnosis of COVID-19, or any other disease or health condition. Elevated body temperature in the context of use should be confirmed with secondary evaluation methods.