The Brandman Centers for Senior Care is the Los Angeles Jewish Home’s first Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) facility, and it’s envisioned as a prototype for future PACE Centers. Nationally recognized as a socially responsible model of “continuing care,” the PACE program provides adult daycare and primary healthcare while allowing the frail elderly to age in place gracefully, living at home instead of institutional settings. Designed by GMPA Architects Inc. (Santa Monica, Calif.), the Brandman Centers for Senior Care was completed in August 2012 and opened in January 2013.

Prior to the design phase, Arnold Possick, vice president of planning and community-based programs for the Los Angeles Jewish Home, traveled throughout California with Kobi Moses and Monika Moses, principals of GMPA Architects. They visited PACE Centers, interviewing medical staff, social workers, personal care providers, and participants to find out what features they would like to see and how to improve efficiency. Based upon their findings, the team developed a program and selected a site. After considering various sites in the Los Angeles area, the Jewish Home elected to locate its first PACE Center on its Grancell campus in Reseda, Calif. A comprehensive program was developed that includes healthcare, dental, preventative care, social services, physical therapy, dining, computers, personal care, and grooming.

Designed within the constraints of the highly regulated PACE requirements, the strict regulations governing the existing site, an aging building, and a tight infill site, this adaptive re-use project aims to provide a nurturing environment for the effective delivery of the services offered by PACE. To open up the building with its “wall to the street,” several changes were made. The high windows were enlarged to connect the inside with the outside, provide views to nature, and allow daylighting. A drop-off area with a large stone patio, horizontal canopies, metal trim, signage, and native landscaping was added to link the building to the street, create an identity, and provide canopied shelter.

The goal was to create an aesthetically pleasing facility with excellent circulation. The reception area allows direct access to multipurpose areas as well as the clinic, personal care, physical therapy, and administration spaces. The layout minimizes travel time from one area to another and clusters similar services together. For example, the transportation coordinator’s and administrator’s offices are sited to facilitate easy communication, and the physical therapy room is off the main entrance, eliminating the need to walk through the clinic. From the multipurpose room, patients can safely wander outside to the landscaped courtyard. Wide corridors accommodate wheelchairs and create an open feeling, while also maximizing daylight. Multiple bathrooms provide immediate access from all main spaces.