The Nursing Home
of the Future


Aabenraa Municipality, Plejecentret Birkelund Design School Kolding
From the fall of 2014 until June 2015
The nursing home of the future, inspiration for other nursing options, service scenarios
Design School Kolding

Birkelund – the nursing home of the future, residents – relatives – staff – senior housing

"The goal is that at the conclusion of the project in the summer of 2015, we will have developed several concrete methods and concepts that will not only inspire improvements at Birkelund Plejecenter, but also serve as inspiration for other care options."

For several years Plejecentret Birkelund in the municipality of Aabenraa has been facing massive organisational, professional and economic challenges. Now the nursing home has reached a stage in the solutions of the challenges that its management and Aabenraa Municipality dare to believe that Birkelund can not only be an excellent nursing home, but also a model for other similar institutions.

Aabenraa Municipality has asked Design School Kolding to apply its experience in initiating change to develop methods that can support the creation of the nursing home of the future. The idea is to emulate for example the project Design of Relationships – which won KL's Innovation Award in 2013 – and involve residents, relatives, staff and stakeholders from the local community in the development work.

The goal is that at the conclusion of the project in the summer of 2015, we will have developed several concrete methods and concepts that will not only inspire improvements at Plejecentret Birkelund, but also serve as inspiration for other care options. Thus the project can only, to a limited extent, answer the question of what the nursing home of the future should look like; however it can be viewed as an initial project for a larger venture.

The project will focus on:
Decency in what we do and say - language/communication in speech and action
Quality of life
A nursing home is a place where life is lived

The project is forward-looking and should start with a positive study of what may be - what are we dreaming about?

The project should help improve communication and the set of actions at Birkelund that can inspire 'The Nursing Home of the Future’.

The goal of the project is to gain an understanding of the existing culture and identify the development potential among employees, residents, relatives and others. Subsequently a series of new 'service scenarios' or 'future scenarios' will be developed for the Plejecentret Birkelund of the future (tomorrow means tomorrow, in a week, in a year ...).

An agreement has been made to develop and test a measurement form on selected participants in the project. The measurement will investigate how individuals personally experience the process and their contribution to it, or the opportunity to contribute. The survey could include questions such as: Do you feel that you can contribute positively to the development? Do you have the opportunity to have influence? Do you feel you have ownership of Birkelund and the development

Project team
From Design School Kolding the project team will include:

Laila Grøn Truelsen, Head of the LAB for Social Inclusion. Laila has a degree in Communications Design and is also trained as a public school teacher. For many years Laila has worked on how design methods can contribute to social change, among other things, in the project Design of Relationships, which won Local Government Denmark's Innovation Award in 2013.

Joan Petersen, product designer and educated as a public school teacher with 10 years’ experience in special education. Joan worked on the project Design of Relationships, and she has extensive experience in user surveys and in the application of design methods and design processes in collaboration with external partners.

Lærke Thorst Balslev: Interaction Designer, with strong visual skills; employed by Kolding Billedskole (School of Visual Arts), has experience with interaction design and in workshops with small and medium-sized companies.

Mette Mikkelsen, Head of Development - Project Manager for Design of Relationships. Over the last six years Mette Mikkelsen has been at the forefront of a wide range of innovations both in the public and in the private sector.

The following committees will be established:

A steering committee (Aabenraa Municipality, DK, representatives from Institutions, management, staff, residents and relatives from Birkelund)

A stakeholder group (the composition is similar to the project actors and / or experts in the field ... managers, employees, citizens from other areas: representatives from the central administration, politicians, voluntary organizations or others)

An ambassador group - here called Narrators (specially selected actors who will be permanent ambassadors for the project and the ideas behind it)