Visiting Homes 2: Space and Combination

Following on from our earlier post Visiting Homes here’s a second installment on what to look out for in terms of physical layout and space in the homes, both shared space and private.  People need space if they are going to live together in a community environment.  That doesn’t necessarily mean large rooms, it means the right combination of rooms.


Communal Rooms

At the heart of any home has to be a substantial kitchen with dining and sitting areas – this is where everyone can congregate, they can cook, they can interact, communicate, have a social dialogue.  We don’t necessarily encourage everybody to eat together – some people like to eat with others, some don’t, some will be encouraged to eat with others at certain times even if they don’t particularly want to because that is part of building a group  setting but at the same time respecting their needs.

So if I was looking for a new care home I would be considering somewhere with a big area for the kitchen. We also have a living room in every home – this provides an alternative area for people to relax together, do activities, watch films and so on.

Sensory Areas both Inside and Out

As most people know, having sensory rooms and gardens can offer so much for people with learning disabilities.  Either for therapy or quiet time, sensory areas offer each person something different and in our homes are in daily use.



Private Rooms

Like all of us, personal and private space is important.  At HFHC we believe it’s not ok to share this space and that means private bathroom facilities, fully adapted to someones needs, should be available to everyone en-suite to their bedroom.  People can decorate their rooms how they like, paint the walls, choose furniture and curtains and all the usual things you or I would consider on designing our personal space.


Room for Development

I also think that when people come into our organisation they come in because they are very complex and they can’t be supported elsewhere.  The likelihood is that they will stay with us for a long time, may be for life but that doesn’t mean to say that their needs won’t change, in fact they definitely will.  So when you are setting something up you need to consider how people’s needs change over time.  What we’ve found is that if you have a care home at the centre of the site you need space to develop as people develop.  E.g. a one bedroom cottage in the grounds.  So you have to have a property that can evolve over time and adapt to the changing needs of the people you are supporting.








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