As care homes become more design-led, there is a growing demand for providers to include hydrotherapy facilities that can cater for residents with more active lifestyles.
Hydrotherapy has a huge range of benefits to improve physical and mental wellbeing, both for residents and staff. In this blog, we’ll be looking at why hydrotherapy is needed in care homes from a health and cultural point of view. From assessing how it improves mobility, to enabling care homes to fill their beds by providing better facilities to appeal to potential residents, this blog will put forward the case as to why hydrotherapy will become the norm in care home environments.
What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy, also known as aquatic therapy or aquatic physiotherapy, is the use of a warm water to revitalise, maintain and restore health for the purpose of rehabilitation. It’s part of alternative medicine, occupational therapy and physiotherapy that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.
Through the combination of hands-on pool-based physiotherapy treatment techniques and specifically designed exercises, hydrotherapy can help restore physical function in a warm, relaxing environment.
A hydrotherapy pool’s water temperature is typically about 33 – 36°C, resulting in generating warm water to help your body and muscles relax, which in turn helps to heal injuries and promote bodily functions like circulation, respiration and even pain relief.
For more details, click here to read our blog on how hydrotherapy works.
Why is the need for hydrotherapy pools in care homes growing?
Over the last 10 years, we have seen how the growth in retirement villages is having a major influence in the design of care facilities. According to figures published by CareHome.co.uk, 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 driving change in the care home sector, where contemporary interiors and state-of-the-art facilities, such as a hydrotherapy pool, are now expected as a requirement. Residents and their families are becoming more demanding in terms of what they expect in a care home. They want an environment that is similar to what they have in their own homes, so are looking for sophisticated, hotel-style luxury.
As a result, care homes are having to adapt quickly, embracing the latest technologies in fabrics and finishes, as well as investing in new facilities to create warmth and comfort for beautiful homes and modern community spaces.
The Power of the 'Grey Pound'
The ‘grey pound’, the purchasing power of elderly people as consumers, is a growing market. Particularly evident with those who live in retirement communities, it is driving a cultural change where individuals are clear about what they want to support a reinvigorated lifestyle. This typically includes living in a community with access on-site to landscaped gardens, spas, swimming pools, gyms, restaurants, bars and hair salons. Alongside those facilities, they also want a support programme of social activities to help with their mental and physical wellbeing.
Taking the power of the ‘grey pound’ into account, it is easy to understand why hydrotherapy in care homes is a growing in demand. If you look at Octopus Real Estate’s report into retirement in a post-pandemic world, 42% of respondents wanted a swimming pool or spa in their retirement village or care home. Almost two thirds of those surveyed also believed that retirement will be the best years of their life, reaffirming their desire for better facilities to enhance health and wellbeing.
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How aquatic therapy improves physical health for care home residents
It is well a known fact that hydrotherapy involves exercise in warm water, making your body and muscles relax, which in turn helps to heal injuries and promote bodily functions like circulation. However, a hydrotherapy pool also offers a space where an individual’s weight feels lighter, and by doing so, helps people with mobility problems feel more supported, balanced and secure.
People who use aquatic physiotherapy feel less inhibited in their ability to move, giving them confidence to carry out certain exercises that they wouldn’t be able to do outside the pool, as well as have longer therapy sessions.
As gravity is countered by buoyancy in a pool, the reduced physical overload on an individual enables them to prolong their exercise time, leading to improvements in balance and strength, as well as stimulating the heart.
Conditions that benefit from aquatic therapy
How to improve wellbeing for care home residents and staff
We have seen the growing importance for care homes to provide the right standard of facilities to meet the physical and mental health expectations of residents and their families. The sector as a whole faces a struggle to ensure their bed occupancy levels remain high, as if they fail to meet their quota, their long-term viability is at risk.
Not only do residents want a care home that is comfortable, modern and facilitates their need for an active lifestyle, care staff also want to have a work environment that is well-designed and progressive. Attracting and retaining talent is constant worry for care home owners and managers, so it is vital they put facilities in place that are conducive to a happy workplace.
Whether it is the flow of the building, quality of the furniture and furnishings or the facilities open to residents, all of these help make the staff’s work-life easier and less stressful. By creating an exciting and vibrant care/retirement facility, you are providing a framework in which staff can enjoy their work and as a result, enhance the care that they provide to residents.
A unique hydrotherapy solution for your care home
Our blog has delved into why hydrotherapy is needed in care homes, both in terms of its health benefits and meeting the changing lifestyle demands of residents and their families. As an expert in supplying stainless steel hydrotherapy pools for multi-user environments, we can support your vision to create a care environment that meets the needs of your residents and your staff.
Get in touch using the form below to let our team find your perfect hydrotherapy pool.