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Marberry: 6 predictions for healthcare and senior living design in 2020

Sara Marberry

Sara Marberry

Now that we’ve entered a new year, it’s time to make a few predictions about things that will happen in the U.S. healthcare and senior living design industry in the next 12 months.

So I looked into my crystal ball and came up with a few, which are listed in no particular order.

1. First Hospital Achieves WELL Certification

The WELL Building Standard is a global rating system that is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, health and wellness. WELL didn’t respond to my inquiry about current numbers, but as of 2018, there were 707 WELL-registered projects worldwide. Only 102 had achieved WELL Certification.

None of the certified projects is a hospital. Yet.

2. Senior Living Goes Modular

Affordable housing and hotels are already headed in this direction with Sterling Bay and Marriott jumping into the fray recently. At least one modular senior living project will be announced in 2020.

Or are there some already underway?

3. “Smart” Technology Debuts

Some product manufacturer is going to introduce a smart floor or smart chair for healthcare and/or senior living that can monitor things like movement, pulse rate, and blood pressure and send that data to caregivers. But the question is, will providers pay a premium for it?

4. Changemaker is Not a Designer, Educator, or HC Executive

It’s been a while since The Center for Health Design has given the Changemaker Award at the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference to someone who is not a designer, educator, or healthcare executive. In fact, the last one was Beverly Johnson, President of the Institute for Family-Centered Care, in 2007.

How about someone from the vendor side who’s helped move the needle? Or another organization, like Planetree or FGI?

5. More than 1,000 People Attend First WELL Conference

Slated for April 2020, the WELL Conference is likely one of those “right place, right time” things. The organizers promise to offer a “rich, experiential opportunity for attendees across multiple sectors.” And of course, the focus is on creating and monitoring buildings and communities that enhance health and wellness.

This is the future, folks.

6. NELSON Acquires Healthcare Specialty Firm

What started out in 1977 as a small interior design practice in Philadelphia specializing in corporate offices and banks is now a firm with more than 1,100 employees in 25 offices. Since 2001, NELSON has grown and expanded its practice areas by acquiring other companies.

And although some of the firms it purchased do healthcare work, it has yet to snag one that specializes only in healthcare or senior living design. Will 2020 be the year?

This column originally ran on Sara Marberry’s blog on Jan. 10. Marberry is a healthcare design expert who has written/edited five books and is a regular contributor to Healthcare Design magazine. Marberry also is a former Executive Vice President of the nonprofit Center for Health Design.