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Marberry: Out of crisis comes creativity as Delos pivots a product

Sara Marberry

I’m sure you’ve seen the many creative ways companies are responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Things like making masks and shields for healthcare workers, sending sports team jets to pick up ventilators, and donating those popular rubber shoes that nurses wear.

To support colleagues and clients, people in the healthcare design industry are offering free access to things they normally charge for — like webinars, specific content, design services, or advice.

Or, like Delos, they are addressing a specific need by repurposing an existing product to the healthcare market at a price point so low that it’s sort of a no-brainer.

Who is Delos?

Delos, as you may know, is the company that came up with the idea of the WELL Building Certification and spun it off as the International WELL Building Institute several years ago. One of Delos’ other cool initiatives is the Stay Well program to create hotel room environments that positively impact our health and well being.

So, when the coronavirus started infecting residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Delos asked themselves, “What can we do to help assure that our most vulnerable populations are safer and healthier?”

Facilities Improvement Program

Their answer?  The Delos Facilities Improvement Program (FIP) for senior living owners and operators, which includes:

  1. Stay Well HEPA Air Purifier for each room in facility.
  2. UVC Wand to disinfect hard surfaces and Cleaning Guidelines to match the Stay Well Protocol for hotel rooms. The recommendations are designed to be non-intrusive, with limited operational burden.
  3. Unlimited access for residents and staff to Cleveland Clinic programs on stress, sleep and nutrition.

The great part about FIP is that Delos is not requiring any capital outlay for these solutions. That way, owners and operators do not have to find money in their operational budgets to initiate the program, and can respond rapidly to the current crisis.

All it costs is a fixed license fee of $0.64 per room per day ($19.20 paid monthly), which includes all ongoing filter replacements, programming, marketing narrative, validation, etc. — as well as remote installation support if needed.

Who Has Signed Up?

When I spoke with company representative Susan MacMurchy last week, I asked her if any senior living providers had signed up for FIP yet. She told me it had just been launched and strategies for reaching out to senior living providers were being formed.

Delos’ founder, Paul Scialla, however had picked up the phone and started calling senior living providers to get a deeper understanding of their needs and thoughts on FIP. “That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Susan said.

I immediately thought of my 86-year old father who’s in independent living in a senior living community in Central Illinois. Is a program like FIP something he’d understand and appreciate — or even want?

Train the Housekeeping Staff

And of course, the housekeeping staff would need to be trained to use the wand — just like housekeeping staff has been trained to use it in Marriott hotels all over the country. Surfaces have to be wiped down first and the wand needs to be positioned just right and held over the target object for 20-30 seconds.

There’s a housekeeper that comes to my dad’s apartment once a week. Is once a week good enough to make a difference?

At this point, anything is worth a try.

I’m sure owners and operators could find creative ways to charge their residents an extra $20 a month for added protection. Or maybe subsidize or foot the bill themselves.

Because if it helps fight infections and prevents a lawsuit down the road, it will pay for itself 10 times over.

And what about the acute care market? Would this type of program work for hospitals, too? How about rehab?

More Information

Delos hasn’t put anything about FIP on its website yet, but if you’d like more information about it, email Jamie Matos.

This column originally ran on Sara Marberry’s blog on April 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.