Oregon Department of Human Services, Aging and People with Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities
Physical Design, Environment, and Safety
It is the intent of these rules that the physical environment and design support the needs of individuals who are cognitively impaired. The physical environment should maximize functional abilities, accommodate behavior that is related to dementia, promote safety, enhance personal dignity, and encourage independence.
BUILDING CODES. Newly endorsed memory care communities must comply with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) occupancy classification enforceable at the time of endorsement. If endorsed prior to the current version of the OSSC, the facility must comply with the building code in place at the time of original endorsement.
Endorsed memory care communities must be located on the ground level of the building to ensure access to outdoor space and safe evacuation.
Research conducted in lighting intensities has shown an impact on individuals with dementia. Lighting throughout the day or night may have an impact on an individual’s functional abilities, as well as in mood and behavior. For communities that are in development or remodeling to new standards, the Department encourages facilities to review and implement the Recommended Practice for Lighting and Visual Environment for Senior Living as outlined in the ANSI/IESNA RP-28-07.
The following lighting requirements must be met. These requirements apply to newly endorsed, constructed, or remodeled communities which have construction documents approved on or after November 1, 2010.
Light fixtures must be designed to minimize direct glare (for example: indirect or diffused lighting). Bare light bulbs or tubes are not allowed;
Lighting fixtures and circuitry must conform to lighting intensities shown in Table 1;
Windows and skylights must be utilized to minimize the need for artificial light and to allow residents to experience the natural daylight cycle; and
All windows must have coverings which diffuse daylight and minimize glare without blocking all light during the day. In addition, bedroom window coverings must provide privacy and block light from street or parking lot lights from entering the bedroom at night.
SURFACE FINISHES. The following requirements for surface finishes must be met. These requirements apply to newly endorsed, constructed, or remodeled communities which have construction documents approved on or after November 1, 2010.
Walls, floors, ceilings, and woodwork must be finished to minimize reflected glare and must have a low sheen or matte finish;
There must be high visual surface contrasts to assist residents with limited visual acuity to distinguish between floor and wall, between wall and door, and between floor and other objects (e.g. toilet);
Paint and other finishes used on the ceiling must have a light reflectance value of 80 percent or higher; and
Paint and other finishes used on walls above 36 inches from the floor must have a light reflectance value of 60 percent or higher.
SECURE OUTDOOR RECREATION AREA. The memory care community must comply with facility licensing requirements for outdoor recreation areas as well as the following standards. These requirements apply to newly endorsed, constructed, or remodeled communities which have construction documents approved on or after November 1, 2010 with the exception of subsections (d) and (e) of this section.
The space must be a minimum of 600 square feet or 15 square feet per resident, whichever is greater and is exclusive of normal walkways and landscaping. The space must have a minimum dimension of 15 feet in any direction;
Fences surrounding the perimeter of the outdoor recreation area must be no less than six feet in height, constructed to reduce the risk of resident elopement, and maintained in functional condition;
Walkways must meet the accessibility requirements of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code. Walkway surfaces must be a medium to dark reflectance value to prevent glare from reflected sunlight;
Outdoor furniture must be sufficient weight, stability, design, and be maintained to prevent resident injury or aid in elopement; and
Doors to the outdoor recreation area may be locked during nighttime hours or during severe weather per facility policy.
COMMON AREAS. Common areas must include the following requirements:
Freedom of movement for the residents to common areas and to the resident’s personal spaces;
A multipurpose room for dining, group and individual activities, and family visits that complies with the facility licensing requirements for common space;
Safe corridors and passageways through the common areas that are free of objects that may cause falls; and
Windows or skylights that are at least as large as 12 percent of the square footage of the common area.
A public address or intercom system is not required, however if one exists it must be used within the memory care community only for emergencies.
Residents may not be locked out of or inside of their rooms at any time.
Residents must be encouraged to decorate and furnish their rooms with personal items and furnishings based on the resident’s needs, preferences, and appropriateness.
The memory care community must individually identify residents’ rooms to assist residents in recognizing their room.
Locking devices used on exit doors, as approved by the Building Codes Agency and Fire Marshal having jurisdiction over the memory care community, must be electronic and release when the following occurs:
Upon activation of the fire alarm or sprinkler system;
Power failure to the facility; or
By activating a key button or keypad located at exits for routine use by staff.
If the memory care community uses keypads to lock and unlock exits, then directions for the keypad code and their operation must be posted on the outside of the door to allow access to the unit. However, if all of the community is endorsed, then directions for the operation of the locks need not be posted on the outside of the door.
Memory care communities may not have entrance and exit doors that are closed with non-electronic keyed locks. A door with a keyed lock may not be placed between a resident and the exit.