New FGI Guidelines for Residential Care Facilities Opens for Comment

The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) has released the draft of a new standard on residential care facilities for public comment. Titled Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities, the document provides minimum recommendations for new construction and renovation of nursing homes, hospice facilities, assisted living facilities, independent living settings, adult day care facilities, wellness centers, and outpatient rehabilitation centers.

Developed in response to the widespread adoption of person-centered care and deinstitutionalization in the residential care industry, the new guidelines are based on the requirements for residential care facilities in the 2010 edition of the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities and public proposals submitted on that text in fall 2011. “The new FGI Guidelines, created with an interdisciplinary volunteer team, is a milestone document created to support the evolution of long-term care environments, while providing consistent guidance for providers, design professionals, and authorities have jurisdiction. The ultimate goal is to provide the framework for environments that support positive resident outcomes,” says Jane Rohde, tri-chair of the FGI Specialty Subgroup on Residential Facilities, which developed the draft of the new document.

The proposed content for the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities addresses the programming process in detail as the basis for well-designed and well-constructed long-term care environments. Specific overlay information has been added to help designers address the needs of residents with dementia, mental health diagnoses, and cognitive and developmental disabilities along with information on how facilities support bariatric needs and sustainable design for residential care facilities. The new standard will generally follow the format of the original, with text written as code language so states can easily adopt it to regulate design and construction of included facility types.

Residential care providers, gerontology experts, architects, consulting engineers, administrators, facility managers, interior designers, residents of facility types included in the book, regulators, and other interested parties are invited to review the content of the new standard and submit their suggestions for revision. All comments must be submitted through an electronic proposal system hosted by the Facility Guidelines Institute, a nonprofit organization founded to support the Guidelines revision process and ensure the Guidelines books are updated regularly using a public, multidisciplinary process. The comment system, which can be accessed from the FGI website at, will be open until March 20, 2013.

It is imperative that care providers, designers, and regulatory authorities responsible for residential health, care, and support facilities take advantage of the public comment period to make their expectations known. “These consensus Guidelines are not a product of a regulatory organization but the product of a multidisciplinary committee of experts, and we are seeking public input,” says Douglas Erickson, chair of FGI’s 2014 Health Guidelines Revision Committee. This is an opportunity for regulators to evaluate existing codes and provide comments that reflect needed updates for residential health, care, and support facilities that meet person-centered goals for care environments.