Group Home designs for people with disabilities

A dwelling for people with carers.

This type of domestic architecture accommodates a group of unrelated people rather than a family unit and can therefore be public as well as private housing. The building type can include highly specialised solutions to accommodate staff and residents in a safe, inclusive environment for respite, temporary or permanent occupation.

The building type came about from a shift in attitude that attempts to remove the institutionalised model in favour of purpose made dwellings that are interspersed within the community and the encouragement of community interaction. With the closure of large hospital style institutions many people in care found htemselves inappropriately placed in accommodation meant for aged car, so a federal government devolution program was instigated to ensure adequate localised care, by local community members that was targeted to the specific needs of those people in care, from the surrounding precinct.

Typically, a group home consists of about 5 residents who are provided with the level care that they, as individuals, need. Usually, there are full time staff in attendance who usually operate on a shift work basis. This provides an interesting twist to design requirements because the development is a house for some and a workplace for others. In terms of design, consideration has to be given to the health and well being of both staff and residents, to their safety and security, as well as being capable of engaging the families and visitors of residents.

At times, some residents may exhibit behavioural issues and the peculiar characteristics of residents, who may have any number of diagnosed medical, emotional and conditional needs must be considered. Care givers use management procedures to ensure the required outcomes are met, however, there is a great deal that the Architect can do to reduce risks and improve manageability. 

Buildings are designed for location in typical suburban residential neighbourhoods and consideration has to be given for reducing any potential loss of amenity on the immediate neighbours caused by reason of the group home. Many of these are designed out by providing a range of internal and external spaces in which to engage residents in a way that does not impact on the immediate neighbours.

FS Architects have designed over forty group homes each designed for particular occupants in mind, each with attributes particular to the residents and carers, but designed in such a way to accommodate the unknown future occupants, and all capable of functioning as a family home should the group home function become redundant.

If you would like to discuss group home design in detail, contact the architect principal.


Source: Sydney Access Consultants

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