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[LTC RESET] Canadian architects reimagine LTC post-pandemic

The University of Toronto (UofT) Centre for Design + Health Innovation has released a report, supported by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and consulting firm Jacobs Canada, that explores how the built environment can better support long-term care (LTC) communities. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many structural vulnerabilities within these congregate facilities, and the report says that unless steps are taken to update standards and modernize design guidelines to better align to current and emerging clinical approaches, such vulnerabilities will remain largely unresolved—even in newly built LTC facilities.

The study's author, Dr. Stephen Verderber of UofT's John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, emphasizes the urgency for re-examining Ontario's approach to refurbishing existing LTC facilities and building new ones. "Success cannot be measured solely by the number of additional beds being provided," he says. While the scale of financial commitment announced by the provincial government has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift in the quality of care, the rush to build new facilities will be a missed opportunity if the government neglects to first update standards and design guidelines to support enhanced infection control, according to Verderber. Best practices must align with modern clinical approaches to dealing with LTC residents, particularly those living with physical or cognitive impairments.

The report identifies a number of case studies that model design excellence in LTC residences. It also suggests 50 design considerations for use by design professionals, healthcare providers, governments, and other decision-makers working in this sector.

To download the report, “Reimagining Long-Term Care Architecture in Post-Pandemic Ontario,” click here

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