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Providence Mount St. Vincent

Physical Environment Transformations

"Form follows function." – Charlene Boyd 

"These changes aren't just inspired by cosmetics but by real environmental changes that support the resident." – AL staff member. 

"Before culture change, patients used to sit with their backs against the wall. There was nowhere to sit and talk or to do activities." – Staff member. 

Transformation to the physical environment took five years and $9 million in renovations. Major changes include:


•  Floors are divided into nine 20 to 23 person "neighborhoods";

•  Each has a spacious kitchen with round tables and all the usual home supplies, from tablecloths to tea kettles;

•  Residents' favorite snacks and drinks are stocked in the kitchen and available at any time;

•  Steam trays support delivery of food from the central kitchen;

•  Staff and resident workspaces are no longer segregated. At the far end of the kitchen space is the open care station for social workers, nurses and other staff;

•  A laundry room is available for each neighborhood;

•  Rooms are private or semi-private (for 2 residents) and remodeled to provide space for resident's personal belongings;

•  Each neighborhood has a distinct personality with changes in style and color;

•  Multiple inviting settings for spontaneous interaction;

•  Each neighborhood has access to a solarium designed as a green house;

•  A game room;

•  A library;

•  An intergenerational classroom complete with an aviary.


•  Remodeled to promote independence;

•  Showers with grab-bars replaced bathtubs; 

•  Microfridge in each apartment;


•  Shared spaces on various floors;

•  Permanent intergenerational classroom on the third floor nursing neighborhood;

•  Classrooms on first floor with windows to the main hall (so that residents can peek in to classroom activities);

•  Playground visible from sub-acute and neighborhood floors. Residents in these areas can hear children laughing and playing.


•  Kitchen and dining area similar to neighborhoods.

•  Mini meeting areas.

• Open environment for nurses' station. "99% of the day someone can find a nurse or staff." – Staff member. 

• Computerized medical records.

Other Examples

  • Remodeled and open therapy areas in Adult Day Health;
  • A cosmopolitan "Cafe" with an open buffet tray line where all members of the community can dine;
  • An Emilie's Treasures Thrift Boutique – Donated items from The Mount and outside community provide the inventory for this unique shop. Case study interviews and observations revealed it to be a favorite meeting place in the community. Proceeds from purchases benefit the foundation and residents in need; 
  • A Wellness Clinic provides services like acupuncture and foot care and is open to staff as well as residents;
  • Lounge areas containing computers and the Never 2 Late system.

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