A Nursing Home in Germany

germany nursing home

Nursing home foyer in Gaertringen, Germany 2014


I was fortunate to have a tour of a nursing home here in Germany.  There were a few aspects I found interesting.  The nursing home was located in the heart of downtown, so that members from the community could easily walk to the nursing home to visit family or friends.  They could then take the senior from the nursing home out for a walk or push in their wheel-chair around town.

The entrance (foyer) of the nursing home was very modern in design, so it didn’t look like a nursing home at all.  There were three floors, with minimal patients per floor.  Each floor had its own dining room.  The floor staff served breakfast and snacks there.  Later, a “hot” cart from the main kitchen (located in the basement) would bring up lunch and dinner.  Each floor had its own nurse.  She had a small office with a door and glass window, with of a view of the dining room.

Some of the benefits of this design allowed the staff on each floor to know their patients and needs intimately.  The patients were easier to “maintain” as they were located in a smaller area.  *Note:  I have worked in one of the largest non-profits in Texas and there were often patients who roamed the entire facility due to confusion- ending up far away from their room and nurse….  Each floor in this (German) nursing home had a tiny green space so patients could get fresh air (it had railing).

There was one wing of the nursing home that was for independent seniors.  It  had small apartments for only one individual.  It had an open plan- a kitchen, area for a small table, living room (there was one twin bed situated behind a half wall in the living room).  The only closed room was the bathroom, with a toilet, sink, shower and washer/dryer.  These individuals certainly had peace of mind knowing that the nursing home was available if needed.

The only negative aspect I noted, was that there was only 1 elevator (and set of stairs) for all three floors.  In a fire, it would be difficult to get the seniors out of the home quickly.   Perhaps a fire would be difficult to spread, as the home was made of cement blocks and had thicker fire doors (same as in the US).

All the nursing homes I have visited in the US have been located on ground floor.  I am curious about nursing homes in cities like New York- where everything is built “up”.  How is their design?

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