Care Homes: Refurbishment Considerations

With any care home refurbishment, there are a number of unique challenges to overcome, particularly in an occupied environment.

Whether it is choosing equipment that will enhance infection control or ensuring your interior design is helpful with wayfinding for residents with dementia, there is a lot to consider to make sure your facility receives an Outstanding CQC rating.

We are also seeing a challenge to traditional approaches to care home provision, with the likes of Principle Care Homes raising facility standards in care homes and retirement villages, adopting a zero compromise on style while still providing the highest level of quality care.

Using their decades of experience in the care home sector, Innova Care Concepts have helped refurbish a number of care homes across the UK, helping to source, supply and store specialist healthcare equipment and furniture, as well as providing consultation on all aspects of room layouts, designs and interiors.

By sharing that experience, this blog will provide some important tips on what to consider when refurbishing a care home.

Care Homes
Before refurbishing your care home, make sure you’ve considered the design and logistics of the project.

Why effective care home refurbishments are needed

Currently, there are around 17,600 care homes in the UK, with 70% of those recorded as residential settings, and 30% as nursing homes.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns have been raised about the financial stability of the care home sector, with fears of possible closures for a number of care homes.

According to a recent report by the Nuffield Trust, it is estimated that care home occupancy fell from a pre-pandemic average of 87% to a low of 79% in June 2020, due to excess deaths in care homes and an increase in people choosing at-home care, particularly self-funders.

Care Home Occupancy
Care home occupancy has fallen in the UK due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Confidence from families and older people in residential care has diminished as a result of the pandemic, posing a huge risk to the viability of many care homes.

If care homes cannot fill their beds, they cannot bring in enough revenue to stay open.

So, what can we do to raise confidence in residential care and protect our much-needed care homes?

Outstanding CQC Rating

One solution is to ensure care homes are proactive and effective with their refurbishments, playing close attention to their overall design to ensure they obtain an Outstanding CQC rating.

As the independent regulator for health and social care in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly inspect care homes, delivering quality ratings from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Outstanding’.

These inspections are measured against the following five questions:

  1. Are they safe?
  2. Are they effective
  3. Are they caring?
  4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  5. Are they well-led?

To learn more about how to achieve an Outstanding CQC rating against these criteria, click here to read our blog.

Latest CQC figures

By achieving an Outstanding CQC status, it promotes confidence to potential residents and their families that the care home has the right facilities to meet their care needs and provides a comfortable environment to live in.

Looking at the CQC ratings data from July 2021,14% of residential homes in the UK and 20% of nursing homes required improvement to their services and facilities.

These figures highlight the ongoing need to raise standards in care homes, with refurbishments an important method in addressing any possible issues raised in a CQC report.

Care Home CQC Ratings 2021
Figures from the CQC highlight the ongoing need to raise standards in care homes.

Not only do care homes need to improve based on the criteria set out from the CQC, but there is also a growing requirement from residents who want homes that are more vibrant and contemporary in their interior design.

This blog will now look at some important considerations to ensure your refurbishment has the maximum impact on resident care and wellbeing.

1)    Adopting a new approach to care home design

In the last 10 years, we have seen a change in approach in how care facilities are being designed, driven by the increase in retirement villages across the UK.

At the moment, around 74,750 older people in the UK live in approximately 57,500 retirement community units, with 51,500 units in England, 3,500 units in Scotland and 2,500 units in Wales.

This emerging market is influencing the care home sector to move towards more contemporary interiors that will appeal to all generations, not just the residents who will be living there.

Santhem Residences Bedroom
Care homes are moving towards more sophisticated, hotel-style luxury for their interior design.

They are beginning to offer a sophisticated, hotel-style luxury, using new technologies in fabrics and finishes to create warmth and comfort for beautiful homes and modern community spaces.

For instance, flooring has become easier to clean with options to design patterns and wood effects that have slip ratings.

Previously, only safety floors would have offered that capability.

By incorporating this design-led approach, it is encouraging intergenerational socialisation, while ensuring that visits to the home are a positive and happy experience for loved ones.

“Over the last 20 years a lot has changed in terms of design within the care sector, a lot of technology has made it easier to turn a care home into a home rather than an institution. This all adds to a care home feeling more like an inviting and homely space to live in.”

Tracey Richards, Director of Three Nine Designs

This change has had a real impact on how care homes look at refurbishments, especially in terms of interior design.

Rather than purely working within a framework that focuses on functionality, care homes are introducing styles that take inspiration from the newest trends in fashion, design, and world events.

Santhem Case Study
We worked with Santhem Residences to furnish their show apartments.

By doing this, it not only is improving the aesthetics of the environment for people living and working within the space, but it is also helping with people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Click here to find out how we helped Santhem Residences provide a homely, warm and comfortable environment where people feel calmer, more relaxed, and happier.

Infinitum Furniture Range

To help your home meet the growing interior design demands of the care home sector, Innova’s Infinitum Furniture range has been created to deliver homely, spacious interiors that embrace a modern ‘boutique hotel’ feel.

As many customers will be downsizing from a larger home, it is important for care homes and retirement villages alike, within which this furniture sits, to be stylish as well as practical for active lifestyles.

The next generation of care homes and retirement villages must not only meet the needs and aspirations of an aging population – they must also be high quality and beautiful.

Infinitum Furniture Rilla
The Infinitum Furniture range is designed to create homely and spacious interiors.

From lounging to welcoming reception spaces to calming boudoirs, Infinitum Furniture is underpinned with subtle refinements to enhance comfort depending upon environment.

This collection is perfect for retirement villages and care homes looking to refurbish as it delivers a balance between the differing constraints, such as function and cost, to high-end design, integrating technological innovations and new fabrics, whilst placing no limitations on infection control and hygiene standards.

Click here to find view the Infinitum Furniture brochure.

2)    Safety

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, many care homes we’ve worked with have been working hard to update their infection control policies as part of their refurbishment process.

This includes care homes auditing furniture and equipment for infection risks, where they look out for the following:

  • Are there any rips or tears in upholstery where bacteria can breed?
  • Is there any Velcro that could come into direct contact with the skin?
  • Is furniture easy to wipe down and able to be cleaned regularly?
  • Are you using infection-control friendly materials?

For more information on how to comply with all strict infection control requirements, check out our blog on control tips for care homes.

Arene Cleaning
Auditing your furniture and equipment is essential ahead of any refurbishment.

When it comes to choosing replacement furniture that fail your audit as part of a refurbishment, you need to ensure your products are infection-control-friendly, comfortable with enhancements like pressure foam as well as aesthetically-pleasing.

By doing so, your care home or retirement village will also be compliant with the safety and care requirements needed to pass CQC inspection with flying colours.

Furniture that can enhance safety

A couple of examples of furniture than can help improve infection control in your care home are Arene Riser Recliner Chair and the Lento Care Chair.

The Arene chair was originally designed for hospices, it complies with the strictest infection control guidelines and is now a must-have for care homes too.

Offering a range of customisable colours, fabrics and finishes, you get maximum infection control without making the home look clinical.

Arene Chair
The Mark II Arene Rise and Recliner is a must-have for all care homes.

Easy to clean, the Arene’s cushions are attached to the chair magnetically so there’s no need for Velcro, whilst the handset is also fixed to the side of the chair with a magnet, so there’s no extra fabric or stitching needed.

As a result, there’s no extra nooks or crannies where bacteria can harbour and grow.

Lento Care Chair

Boasting a wide variety of built-in features, the Lento Care chair offers a versatile solution for almost any user.

Providing a safe working load of 25 stone (158kg), the Lento has removable headrests and cushions to make sure that any user is comfortable, and the extending legrest and adjustable footplate keep them well positioned and supported from top to toe.

Lento Care Chair
The Lento Care Chair offers a versatile solution for almost any user.

Not only do these features make the Lento ideal for customising to fit an individual’s needs, it also allows them to suit environments where they will be used by an array of different people with varying complex needs.

The Lento Care Chair is also available in a specification version that uses press studs or magnets to attach cushions and reduce the chance of cross-infection.

3)    Navigation

We know that good interior design plays such an important role in improving the happiness and wellbeing of every resident in every care home or retirement village.

However, when undertaking a refurbishment, you must carefully consider every component that makes up your home design to ensure it helps those who struggle with wayfinding and to be as dementia friendly as possible.

Use of lines in Care Home
Using different colours per corridor can also be used to help dementia sufferers recognise which floor they are on.

Use of lines to help with navigation

Taking advice from our blog on 7 principles of interior design for care homes, lines are one of the key principles that you can include in your refurbishment to deliver a comfortable and safe care environment.

Lines act as visual guides giving residents something to rely on when moving around the home.

For example, installing horizontal grab rails, wall panels, and photographs in corridors can all create lines that emphasise the doorways.

Lines act as visual guides to help with wayfinding in a care environment.

This is especially helpful for residents with visual impairments or dementia who struggle with wayfinding.

3-Step Roadmap for Care Homes

Improving your interior design is a simple and effective way of ensuring your refurbishment enhances the quality of care you can provide.

All you need to do is use the 7 key principles of good design!

If you’re looking for even more interior design tips, we’ve also got a full eBook on how care homes can recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

4)    Logistics and Storage

It has often been said that when opening the doors to any new establishment or refurbishment, the last couple of weeks can be the most challenging.

Whether it is multiple daily deliveries on site, last-minute delays or the risk of precious equipment and furnishings being damaged or going missing during delivery, it can be a stressful experience.

There is also the small matter of keeping resident disruption to a minimum.

Infinitum Furniture chairs
Make sure you have a clear logistics process in place to minimise disruption.

Residents with dementia may have additional support requirements, including the need to maintain their own routine.

That’s why it is vital to put strategies in place to work sensitively around this, maintaining occupation of their rooms, if at all possible, whilst maintaining a safe environment.

So how can care homes overcome these challenges?

How Innova can help

This is where Innova Care Concepts, in conjunction our sister company – warehousing and logistics specialist Dependall – comes in.

We offer an elite service of managing all the logistics and deliveries to site – for the entire project, if needs be.

As experienced logistics operators, Innova can take on the role of project manager, overseeing all critical paths and ensuring that issues are clearly communicated and addressed before they impact the opening.

Innova offer an elite service of managing all the logistics and deliveries to site for your care home refurbishment.

With over 700,000 sq. ft of storage across two primely-located sites with easy access to the motorway network, we are ideally placed to take the strain out of the build-up to opening day.

Click here to book a consultation with our specialists to find out how they can help with your refurbishment needs, including warehousing and storage.


This blog has looked at how care home refurbishments have evolved in terms of what resident and their families are beginning to expect with regards to interior design and facilities.

Influenced by an increase in the number of retirement villages that are being built across the UK, and wanting to deliver that  ‘boutique hotel’ standard of living which many aging individuals very much desire today, this has led to a bolder and more aspirational design-led focus for this sector.

Hopefully this blog has picked out a couple of important considerations when looking at a refurbishment to ensure your care home is meeting the standards set by the CQC, and delivering the facilities that enhance wellbeing.

Whether it is picking the right colours to help with navigation or making sure you have a clear strategy for sourcing and storing furniture, it is important you work with a supplier that can make the process as easy and effective as possible, so you can provide the right levels of care for your residents.

Want to know more about how we can help with your care home or retirement village refurbishment or new build? Get in touch with the Innova team today!