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What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating and How Does it Apply to Senior Care Facilities? 

Apr 8, 2023 | Public | 0 comments


This rating applies to all types of facilities in addition to senior care facilities

Senior care facilities are critical to the well-being of elders in need of assistance, whether it’s limited assistance or hospice care. It would then naturally follow that the facilities providing this care are focused on senior citizens’ health and wellness primarily. However, these facilities also focus on the wellness of their own employees and caregivers as well. It is all a part of maintaining a holistic sense of health and wellness.

One way to measure and show how well a senior care facility does this is the WELL Health-Safety Rating, created by the International Well Building Initiative (IWBI).

“So, where do you start in an overwhelming sea of new health strategies?” says Whitney Austin Gray, senior vice president of research at IWBI. “The WELL Health-Safety Rating, based on a subset of features in the WELL Building Standard, is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, communications and engagement strategies and emergency plans to address acute health threats including COVID-19 and beyond.”

This rating allows organizations and facilities to chart where they are and what areas they can further improve. One such organization is Sunrise Senior Living, which just qualified for the WELL Health-Safety Rating. Sunrise Senior Living is an operator of senior living communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“We had a couple of communities that had gone through the process individually early on to get them set,” says Andy Coelho, senior vice president of construction at Sunrise Senior Living. “Just a single building at a time achieved the rating. That is when we realized that that the IWBI has an at scale program where you can certify or achieve the rating for your entire portfolio of communities.”

From there, the process of certifying all of Sunrise’s communities began.

“We had to open an application, we had to hire some consultants to help us through it and we had to fill out paperwork,” says Coelho. “We also had bi-weekly meetings. Some were internal, some were with our consultants, and some were with IWBI themselves. We had to submit a lot of paperwork. There were community visits where we actually went to the specific communities to document and demonstrate our policies, our practices, our procedures and verifying that they are in fact what we said they are in our policies.”

After that phase, Sunrise submitted their materials to IWBI and underwent a review process. Following the submission were some conference calls and feedback. According to Coelho, it was around February of 2023 when Sunrise received the news that their entire portfolio had been certified through the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

“I think now we are going to be able to stand alongside a lot of other major companies,” says Coelho. “There is more and more of an emphasis on wellness, certainly that is I think something that we learned coming out of the pandemic. Overall, wellness is a theme of senior living and healthcare. We are getting that recognition for what we have been doing all along is now seen as and is recognized alongside some of the leading Fortune 500 brands who have prioritized wellness.”

To learn more about the WELL Health-Safety Rating, check out IWBI’s page. The rating is applicable to many different types of organizations and facilities.

“Organizations are seeking out multi-year roadmaps for health and well-being,” says Gray. “Start today and make a plan. Achieve ratings and certifications that help to make the invisible visible to residents and visitors. We need more than Band-Aids on our buildings to improve air quality. We need multi-year strategies.”

The post "What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating and How Does it Apply to Senior Care Facilities? " appeared first on Healthcare Facilities Today


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