Veterans Administration Community Living Center

Boise, Idaho

Paradigm Shift – An important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way

We had no idea when we accepted the commission of this project that our client was about to undergo an earth moving paradigm shift…..and neither did they! In fact our contract for services called the project an Extended Care Unit. The Department of Veterans Affairs was clearly contemplating the construction of a new and improved Nursing Home – you know, the large sprawling facility with the double loaded corridors and the nurse stations.

That was the standard in 2010. In 2011, in the middle of design, a seismic shift – no make that a paradigm shift – occurred. “Stop designing an Extended Care Unit and let’s start over. What emerged is a totally new patient-centered approach to caring for the elderly Veterans, those requiring Assisted Living type Service, those on Hospice and those in need of rehabilitation.

“Start thinking about groups of Veterans living in smaller stand-alone communities of no more than 12 individuals. Stop thinking about an institution and start thinking about a house, a home, a place where meals are shared in common, meals served by the universal care giver in a homelike kitchen where residents can bake a pan of cookies if they want.”

But wait, we are talking about the federal government here! Is such a shift even possible? Well, yes it is and because it’s the right things for the Veterans, the VA facility in Boise along with VA’s across the country are adopting and adapting to this completely new model. Forming our architectural and engineering response to this new model was a joy for our team. The results are much more humane. The new facility, known as the Community Living Center, is remarkable and revolutionary while at the same time personal and relevant. What a breath of fresh air!

The Boise Community Living Center (CLC) consists of two new stand-alone buildings on the Boise VA Medical Center campus. These buildings comprise approximately 24,600 sf and contain three 10-12 bedroom houses for rehabilitation, skilled/long term nursing and hospice residents. The buildings meet new VA design guidelines for community living centers based on the “Green House” concept.

Skilled care is based on resident-centered care promoting independence and providing important resources for veterans. The project facilitates improvements in patient safety, confidentiality, dignity, and infection control. Each patient room consists of a private room with a private bathroom. CSHQA’s services included architectural, civil, mechanical, electrical, interior design, and landscaping.

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