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Westminster-Thurber Community

Physical Environment Transformations

Environmental changes can require capital intensive investments to rebuild or renovate existing structures or to build entirely new households. However, not all environmental transformations require significant financial investment. Westminster-Thurber continues to make changes to the environment with varying levels of financial outlay. In May of 2008, Westminster opened the Pathway Home. The Pathway Home required a five month renovation of an existing structure into a household model and is an example of environmental transformations requiring substantial financial investment. However, Westminster is also in the early stages of establishing neighborhoods in it's skilled nursing facility by making more minor environmental investments while still fully adopting system oriented changes including restoring decision-making and autonomy as close to the elder as possible. Examples of transformations to the Health Center at this stage of implementation include:

  • Rooms reflect resident's unique life and personality in color, decoration and furnishings.
  • Overhead paging has been eliminated.
  • There are designated "neighborhoods" in the Health Center.
  • Staff and elders decide how neighborhoods should be decorated.
  • Nurses' stations have been removed.
  • Pantry kitchens were added to neighborhoods so that elders may enjoy food anytime.
As the most extensive environmental transformation, the below example describes the Pathway Home. Transformation to the physical environment of the Pathway Home took 1 year and $650,000 in renovations. Major changes include:


•  Spaces belong to Elders and they have access to all areas of the house;

•  Family/visitors ring doorbell and enter through the front door into the home's foyer (just like home);

•  All private rooms with half-bath;

•  Central hearth with adjacent open kitchen and dining areas;

•  Short halls provide easy access to the heart of the home;

•  Kitchen is at the center of the home;

•  Elders have access to the kitchen and participate in planning and preparing the meal;

•  Dining is around a long wooden table with family style meals;

•  Outdoor space is easy to access, fenced, shaded with green lawns and plants.

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