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Aug 27, 2021

On today’s episode, Cheryl interviews Laura Busalacchi, IIDA, NCIDQ, WRID, EDAC, Senior Director of Interior Services at Brookdale Senior Living. Brookdale owns and operates over 700 senior living communities and retirement communities in the United States and their base is in Brentwood, Tennessee.

In part 1 of today’s episode, Cheryl asks Laura the question, “What are the challenges with current cleaning and overcleaning protocols in the senior living space, and why is this so important right now?” Laura shares, “One of the challenges is overcleaning. People often think more is better. Here’s an analogy I like to use. Think of upholstery and carpet fabric like a textile; like your clothing. Because at the root, upholstery and carpet are made out of fibers just like your clothing. So when you get a stain on your clothing, you spray it with some sort of cleaner, then you agitate it and rub it in, and then you put it in the washing machine. This process includes a rinse cycle and sometimes people like to do two rinses. Then you move it to the dryer or you let it air dry. It’s the same process for textiles and carpet. The step that is most frequently missed is the rinse. Most of the time, the rinsing to get the residue off is what is missed and when that is missed, it acts as a magnet to dirt and debris and will make your upholstery or flooring dirty faster.” This and so much more on the changing face of senior living design from Laura Busalacchi on part 1 of today’s episode.

Learn more about Laura Busalacchi and Brookdale Senior Living by visiting:

In part 1 of Cheryl’s conversation with Laura Busalacchi , they discuss:

  • There is a sense in which Senior Living was kind of Ground Zero for COVID. Laura sets the scene for how impactful COVID was in the world of senior living? 
  • Many firms have seen a project volume as a result of COVID. What about Brookdale? 
  • What have Laura and her team at Brookdale done to respond to COVID? 
  • What have been some of the lessons learned here with COVID and Brookdale?
  • Based on what Laura has heard and seen, how prepared is Brookdale for another major viral pandemic in the next ten to 20 years? 
  • Senior Living Foresight has reported that more than half of senior living communities in this country are in immediate and dire financial peril. And yet, most are without any COVID relief funds. The rest have received a tiny amount of what they need. Hear Laura share what is happening within Brookdale and how the company is  beginning to recover from this? 
  • What are the challenges with current cleaning and overcleaning protocols in the senior living space, and why is this so important right now?
  • Laura has said, “There is an automatic application to disinfecting and cleaning, the old way and not in the new way.” What is the new way of cleaning? 
  • Who is educating those responsible for cleaning at Brookdale?
  • How did Laura get to the seat she sits in today including why she chose senior living
  • Who is Laura’s biggest inspiration today?
  • How has the hospitality industry influenced Laura and her work at Brookdale?

In part 2 of Cheryl’s conversation today with Laura Busalacchi, Senior Director of Interior Services at Brookdale Senior Living, Laura shares what Brookdale project made her cry and why. What moments are priceless for Laura in a project? What keeps her motivated to continue when big challenges present themselves, and how did she end up working for Brookdale? This and so much more on the changing face of senior living design from Laura Busalacchi, on part 2 of today’s episode, available now.

The world is changing quickly. The Center for Health Design is committed to providing the healthcare design and senior living design industries with the latest research, best practices and innovations. The Center can help you solve today’s biggest healthcare challenges and make a difference in care, safety, medical outcomes, and the bottom line.  Find out more at

Additional support for this podcast comes from our industry partners:

  • The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers
  • The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design

Learn more about how to become a Certified Healthcare Interior Designer®  by visiting the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers at:

Connect to a community interested in supporting clinician involvement in design and construction of the built environment by visiting The Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design at


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