The Business Innovation Factory’s Nursing Home of the Future: Design. Test. Deliver.

With the current elder care system in peril, and with millions of babyboomers on their way to old age, most experts agree that we must fundamentally redesign our country’s approach to elder care. The Business Innovation Factory’s Nursing Home of the Future (NHoF) initiative began when members of the BIF community galvanized around the idea that we must work harder (and faster) to design a new approach to eldercare.

Working with Tockwotton Home, a 30-bed assisted living center and 42-bed skilled nursing facility located in Providence, Rhode Island and Quality Partners of Rhode Island, BIF set out in April 2008 to build a neutral platform for experimentation where partners can test new ideas in a working eldercare facility with guidance from a laboratory team of designers, clinicians and elder care experts.

In October 2008 the team reached an important milestone in bringing the NHoF lab to life with the completion of Phase I of project activity. This initial phase created a detailed description of the current experience of nursing home and assisted-living residents that illuminates the day-to-day dynamics of elder life and reveals areas of the experience most in need of redesign.

For the NHoF team, this meant hundreds of hours at Tockwotton Home, talking with residents, participating in social events, meeting with families, talking with staff, interviewing experts and documenting everything with audio, video and still photography.

The team synthesized these observations into a series of maps, vignettes and photographic displays that make it easier for non-experts and experts alike to understand the current experience and preview a set of opportunities for improving it.

This work revealed deep insights into how residents interact with the facility and staff, utilize private and shared spaces, care for body and mind, make use of equipment and furnishings, and engage in recreational activities. From this work, the NHoF and its advisors narrowed the field down to 13 areas of the elder care experience that can be improved through redesign and active experimentation in the NHoF lab.

The NHoF team is now gearing up Phase II of activity, set to begin in January 2009. In Phase II, the team will leverage the relationships BIF has created with Tockwotton Home, NHoF project advisors, BIF partners from the private sector and elder care experts from across the country to begin active experimentation with new products, services and systems for improving the elder experience.

For more information about the NHoF laboratory, contact Tori Drew at [email protected] or 401-270-7906.

Field Reports from Phase 1

When the Business Innovation Factory set out to create a real-world laboratory for developing and testing new solutions for improving elder care, we knew it would be challenging.

What we didn't know was how deeply personal and inspiring the process of building the Nursing Home of the Future laboratory would be. One of the most stunning components of this effort has been the intimacy and authenticity of the team’s interactions with the residents.

At the heart of the NHoF’s first phase of activity are the people at Tockwotton Home who opened up their lives to our team so that we can understand how to make the experience better for the next generation of residents, not just at Tockwotton Home but across the country.

Here is a sampling of field reports from individual team members that captures the experience of building the lab from the eyes of the on-the-ground team.