Southington Care Center Reception Area and Nurses’ Station Renovations

  • area / size 2,560 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Type Senior Care,
  • Amenta Emma Architects completed a handful of renovations for the Southington Care Center, including updates to their nurses’ station and reception area, in Southington, Connecticut.

    Small projects can result in big transformations for patients and staff as evidenced in the renovation of Southington Care Center’s reception area and nurses’ station, and outdoor terrace. Designers have an incredible opportunity to reimagine not only space but user experience – a profound responsibility when designing for seniors.

    Southington Care is a 130-bed skilled rehabilitation and long-term nursing facility. The 1,620-sf space was previously anchored by a bulky, institutional desk where nurses and staff monitored patients and charted their care. The space was busy and confusing to residents, who often were parked in wheelchairs around the desk. There was no natural light.

    The challenge was to create better purpose and use for the confined space. Driving design was a goal to make the area more concierge-like, with a reception space to welcome visitors, and tucking clinical and charting functions behind a perforated wooden panel.

    Designers opened the space, creating a series of cascading areas, including a smaller nurses’ station, a garden or activity room anchored by a fireplace and a large-screen for games or viewing, and an outdoor terrace, which allows natural light to reach into the center of the floor. The nurses’ working space, while disguised, still allows views for patient monitoring.

    Lighting was key. While ceiling height did not change, overhead fluorescent fixtures were replaced by wrap-around fixtures that increased the amount of ambient light, controlled by dimmer switches. Lighting was added to handrails, creating better contrast for residents and pleasant illumination to the corridor.

    The 940-sf terrace is shaded with a canvas canopy. A privacy fence is covered in artificial greenery, and artificial turf, of a thickness to safely accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, is a low-maintenance solution for staff while still creating outdoor ambiance.

    The changes have been well-received by residents, their families and staff, who say it creates a calming atmosphere for all, particularly for patients with dementia.

    ArchitectAmenta Emma Architects
    Contractor: CE Floyd Company
    PhotographyRobert Benson