COVID-19 Design Considerations for Managing Infection Spread and Quarantine within Senior Living

Campus Entry Points

  • Provide controllable campus entry points to allow for securing the perimeter and funneling visitors and personnel to secure entry and exit points.
  • Consider the ability to provide gates and site signage that can be converted or removed post-quarantine.

Building Entry Points

  • Provide a secured vestibule area for effective screening of incoming residents, visitors and staff.
  • Recognize privacy and dignity issues related to the screening process.
  • Implement design-forward sanitation and PPE stations at each entry point and consider minimizing seating in lobbies.
  • Prepare a delivery staging area for incoming products to be handled and stored.

Public Areas, Commons & Activity Areas

  • Provide hands-free options for doors, MEP fixtures, receptacles and dispensers. Consider opportunities to eliminate doors in high traffic areas.
  • Include universal cues for circulation within common spaces to maintain social distance and reinforce appropriate traffic patterns.
  • Offer increased single seating options and the ability to create smaller gathering spaces within larger spaces. Consider the use of design-forward mobile partitions and screening.
  • Activate outdoor areas for resident use. Consider outdoor living rooms with fireplaces, heat lamps, fans, awnings and/or screens to extend use into cool and warm weather seasons.
  • Examine planned, pop-up and off-site storage options to house unused furniture and equipment during quarantine.
  • Look at ways to make environmental quarantine changes look normal.

Higher Levels of Care

  • Provide private resident rooms with private bathrooms. Consider ways to incorporate a PPE staging area at the entrance of each room.
  • Co-horting: Provide a designated wing or end of a hallway, preferably with separate entrance/exit and separate HVAC systems. Contemplate hands-off staging location for medical supplies, meals, etc.
  • Consider the use of small-house concepts in future project planning.

Staff Areas

  • Provide enhanced staff break areas including showers and changing rooms.
  • Consider outdoor break areas.
  • Prepare temporarily repurposed space to accommodate overnight stays.

Building Systems

  • Evaluate and upgrade HVAC systems to include appropriate air quality measures.
  • Implement Building Automation Systems to allow maintenance staff to monitor and control building systems remotely.


  • Implement infrastructure for community-wide technology to support dining, activity, social engagement, tele-health, security, staff and maintenance.
  • Consider mobile device apps to replace timeclocks and other staff HR needs.

Read about how residents, staff and prospects feel regarding senior living during COVID-19:

Thank you

for your dedication and commitment to our communities by continuing to work on the front lines.

Raise your hand if you would like to talk about how to apply these and other design considerations to your community.