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We’re all in this together – Part 1

In the midst of the current alarm and whirlwind of information on health, statistics, social precautions, the economy, panic buying and even false news in our lives at present, it seems entirely plausible that our attention is drawn away from the most important thing at the centre of this crisis; people.  Those at high risk including the aged, the unwell, the first line responders, the essential service providers.  These people need our care and support during this time, both mentally and physically.  This includes many of our clients, their residents and their employees.

During these changing and challenging times, the KPA team commits to assisting vulnerable people wherever possible and we implore others to do the same.  For most people this means contributing to flattening the curve; staying at home, keeping check on our mental wellbeing, staying in touch with family and friends, in addition to assisting our communities safely.  State and Federal Governments are supporting people proving care and those experiencing financial hardship with targeted initiatives. These links will guide you through what is available:  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Alert

Support for businesses and individuals affected by Coronavirus

WA specific advice and support for communities and businesses affected by Coronavirus

These are all excellent short term strategies to assist people in making it through the coming months. 

KPA Architects also supports a pragmatic and future-focused response to the current situation, as well as forward-thinking in preparation for any further biological developments.  During this time and once the alarm ceases in the near future, we will require the facilities and services to deal with the additional load on our current systems, in order to provide the best care for our people.  And for next time, we’ll need the facilities and systems to respond better, faster and smarter, in order to provide even better care for our people.  The time to act and to prepare is now.

Architecturally, infection control is the first issue that springs to mind and if done effectively, it plays a significant part in improving health outcomes for all people using our buildings, including specifically residents and staff.  For this reason, it is critical that buildings are appropriately designed to include:

·         well-planned facility and room layouts, such as bathrooms and toilets, waste disposal/sluice rooms, laundries and kitchens;

·         the ability for isolation or segregation of spaces and services, as required;

·         adaptable spaces, suitable for multiple uses in response to a crisis;

·         appropriate technology to allow social distancing and improved response times for certain support and care services, including monitoring devices, communication methods and support robots;

·         communication systems to allow for maintenance of mental wellbeing, including connection with families, fitness and activity providers;

·         appropriate materials, fittings and fixtures;

·         services with suitable capacity for fluctuating occupant numbers (residents and staff) and back-up systems;

·         in-house or co-located medical facilities with residences; and

·         appropriate storage locations and sizes for equipment and supplies.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article, in which we’ll be discussing design for occupant wellness.