In an effort to create a safer physical environment for residents and staff members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare and senior living real estate developer Avenue Development and post-acute provider Ignite Medical Resorts have launched a smart design program at two Ignite Medical Resorts properties in Kansas City, MO.

The smart design installation is designed to support infection prevention, safe socialization as well as increase operational and energy usage efficiencies. Real estate investment trust partner LTC Properties financed the initiative, according to the firms.

The program included the installation of GPS Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization filtration throughout both buildings to provide cleaner, safer indoor air by reducing airborne particulates, odors and pathogens. Custom-designed decorative dividers were placed in dining areas, therapy rooms and the spa, fostering safer socialization atmospheres. 

“My hope is that these safety enhancements will provide a cleaner and safer environment that will allow residents to begin to safely re-engage in their communities, thereby increasing socialization and interaction with the utmost confidence that their buildings are safe from COVID as well as other threats such as flu and other contagious infections” said Brian Lane, vice president of strategic development at Avenue Development.

Lane added that Avenue Development curated the smart design program by combining four key elements: safety and infection control; operational expense and staffing efficiency; energy and environmental efficacy; and positive market perception. For example, the updated air filtration systems provide clean air inside the building, which puts less work on existing equipment, Lane told McKnight’s Business Daily. In addition, the fresh air is cleansed by the air filtration system which is cleansed by ions. This produces less exhaust and less electricity usage.

Staff efficiencies have been seen in terms of workers using wearables to track when residents need assistance or when behaviors are out of the ordinary. When a resident is outside of the norm, it alerts the team. This allows staff to focus on residents who are outside of their norm, saving time on more frequent visits.

“The focus is on better, quality care for residents and efficient care provided by the team members,” Lane said.