Eilish McVey


Residential Care for Me

Improving the quality of life for long term care residents on a holistic level

The increasing demand for  residential care coupled with the cultural shift in which we view aging suggests that the designed space for long-term care needs to appropriately facilitate and preserve health and wellness.

Providence Health Care has responded to this challenge by developing their own design initiative, Residential Care For Me, which aims to improve the quality of life for residents on a holistic level.



Client: Providence Healthcare
Services: Ethonographic Research, User Needs Assesment, Reccomendations Report
Duration: 9 months

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In the healthcare setting it is often the input from the client and stakeholders that must be prioritized. For our team to generate an empathetic design outcome we knew it was important to receive input from all users of the space.  Our process of Research Included:

Site Visits

By gaining real time exposure around the daily routine of a resident and a care aide we were able to uncover common themes and create structure for further research. Detail notes, and photos,  were collected  to help gain a true sense of the care aide’s actions, patterns and routines. From this we were able gain a general understanding of the physical space, daily routine of residents and demographic within the facility.

Data Analysis

We then sorted through all information provided to us as well as our own  observations. This included a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data. Once completed, the team moved onto an affinity diagramming process where key information was documented on sticky notes for the ability to quickly re-organize information into a large affinity map. We then were able to draw insight which would lead to brainstorming of ideas


After finding validation of the data supplied to us from Providence Health during our visits to both Brock Fahrni and Youville Facilities we had a better sense of the space and the problems within. We then presented our ideas to Providence Health care and linked our data visualization to show the client where each idea came from.  We generated discussions around ideas we were most excited about and got them to mark and discuss the concepts they liked the most or wanted to discuss .


Based upon the feedback from our clients, we chose a variety of our concept sketches that  we wanted to put forward to receive further feedback from residents their family members and the rest of Brock Fahrni Staff. We were more interested in getting the participants involved in ideating - rather than probing. We wanted to know how they could build our ideas further.


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Prototype + Test

From the design workshops at Brock Fahrni, and with input from the Brock Fahrni team, four ideas were selected to be prototyped and implemented. These prototypes would be installed and tested for a one-week time frame at Brock Fahrni

The ideas we chose to prototype were based on their ability to  not interfere with daily routine, or require major changes in the facility as we were looking for ideas that could immediately be implemented



1. Update existing hallway signs to enhance the neighbourhood theme and contribute to a home-like environment.

2. An exterior facade for a resident’s door that mimics a single-dwelling residence found in a traditional neighborhood.

3. A motion-censored under-bed lighting system to help guide residents to the washroom at night and a task light for staff during the night-shift rounds.

4. A re-designed hospital room divider curtain


After the prototypes were installed the team provided staff and residents with questionnaires  for design evaluation. The purpose of the questionnaires was to determine the strength of prototypes and to gain suggestions for improvements

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A variety of design concepts were presented to the PHC team, and were narrowed down based upon how easily implementable they were to prototype within the space of Brock Fahrni.

Additional design concepts were provided in a compiled recommendations report, Categorized by feasibility of implementation—for current and future buildings. The Providence Healthcare team was  then  able to turn their ideas into reality, and moved into implementation.

read report →

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