Residential Healthcare Facilities 2014 Guidelines Revision Project: Wellness Center
One of the current trends in healthcare is the inclusion of wellness programs offering complementary and alternative therapies and preventative screenings. A recent survey by the American Hospital Association indicates that 37% percent of hospitals are offering such programs, which are utilized by people in the community, as well as patients and staff in hospitals.
Many residents in residential health, care, support, and related facilities also have access to wellness programs. These programs may be offered in freestanding wellness center facilities that are adjacent to or affiliated with a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), community hospital, or other type of residential health, care, or support facility. They may also be offered in spaces that are located within CCRCs, hospitals, or residential health, care, and support facilities themselves. Wellness centers also may be part of community-based programming, such as within or adjacent to a YMCA or other type of service organization.
In the 2010 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, there is no reference to wellness centers in any type of healthcare facility. By not including any mention of wellness centers, the Guidelines are missing out on a critical trend that is occurring in residential health care and will soon get a boost in the United States from the health care reform law. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, starting in 2014, employers can offer increased incentives to employees for participation in wellness programs or for meeting certain health status targets. In addition, wellness centers provide proactive ways for monitoring of chronic diseases to avoid/decrease frequency of acute episodes that often lead to hospitalization.