Designers and project teams spend countless hours sweating the details on new building and renovation work. They coordinate the ceilings, walls, floors, furniture, lighting, artwork, window treatments,counter tops, plumbing fixtures, hardware, signage, handrail details, casing and trim along with the exterior elements and colors of a building.
These teams research the codes that must be complied with from fire safety, health department, building code and the American Disabilities Act.They evaluate all product and design decisions against life cycle costing to make sure that the investment being made is the right one.
They interview families, the operations team, look at national trends and standards and then they put all of this information into a cohesive, functional,beautiful building that is the best combination of all efforts. They install all the furniture, artwork, drapes and accessories and get ready for the opening party.
What have they missed . . . they have missed Managing the Message.
Sometimes, designers and project teams forget that the front lines, those that are left out of the planning process, are the ones responsible for executing. The design and Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) are only as good as the intended use. Sometimes that use is lost.
The whole story must come from the marketing folks, housekeeping, maintenance, food service and activities. Its necessary to meet with new families or thefamily council and make sure they understand the thought and care behind every decision.
When designers and project teams manage the message the home will be better utilized, maintained and appreciated by all. Pride will come in many forms fromthe residents, staff and families.
Some may say that this process is a just marketing tool for the building, but managing the message goes deeply into the why, not just the what. By doing thisa caring culture is created that runs deeper than that of a standard caregiving system. It runs to through the buildings walls and down to the foundation.
Some examples of Managing the Message include:
- Education on types of fabrics used, wall covering carpet and how these are residential in nature but meet code and can be easily maintained.
- Education of Life Skill stations and their use.
- Education on Floor maintenance including zone cleaning, daily cleaning, spot cleaning and deep cleaning.
- Explanation of Theming, way finding and signage.
- Explanation of simple items like the choice of a dining table and chair and how this aides the resident in seeing the edge due to contrasting materials,chairs have set back arms that allow the resident to get closer to the table etc.
- Delivery of the Flame spread manual for all materials.
- Education on the 3-point security lock system for artwork.
- Explanation of special design concept areas.
- Education on the proper lamping (bulbs) for all light fixtures not only from a color temperature standpoint but also from a safety standpoint.
- Education on Stand-up Gardens and planter boxes and their safe planting.
There are many more ways to Manage the Message to clearly communicate to the families, staff and residents the how and why when design decisions are made.