Medical Construction & Design

JAN-FEB 2017

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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BY KENT DOSS While no one would argue against the clinical benefi ts that the private patient room model yields, it's worth pausing to analyze the physical forms that are a natural off spring of current code mandates and op- erational practices. As designs rapidly evolve to keep pace with the changes in the industry, we must not forget elements that have time-tested eff ective- ness in improving the physical and mental well-being of the patients and staff that inhabit these environments. For a wide variety of op- erational reasons, the most prevalent layout for patient units is a single-loaded cor- ridor with central core support spaces (commonly referred to as the "race track" or "ring road" model). The drivers that have moved the industry to this confi guration include minimiz- ing increased travel distances resulting from single-occupancy rooms, as well as the need to locate work areas and supplies closer to patients and caregiv- ers. Though this model may be optimally effi cient, its evolu- tion has caused some historical patient unit features to become less common — one such feature is the patient lounge, aka the solarium. In the days of patient wards, having a refuge away from the crowds and chaos, where patients could get fresh air and sunlight, was a basic compo- nent of patient care — not to mention one of the only "ame- nities" available to patients. During the semi-private room era, the patient lounge became a place for patients and their families to fi nd a bit of solitude and privacy away from their roommates. While private rooms have all but eliminated the need for these spaces from the patient care perspective, as they have disappeared from (or taken less prominence in) industry standards, there have been some residual impacts that should be addressed. While not their primary intent, patient lounges/solari- ums frequently allowed natural light to penetrate more deeply into the interior circulation and workspaces of the patient unit, providing a little bit of relief to what could be challenging work environments. While designing in the era of Lean-led process optimization, it can become expedient (and habitual) to view elements that aren't op- erationally compulsory as part of the "waste" that needs to be eliminated. It's imperative to understand and place proper import on the psychological and performance benefi ts of design- ing deep natural light pen- etration into the patient unit core. In no particular order, the following are the top fi ve (Evidence-Based, data-driven) reasons for daylighting work areas within patient units: Employee satisfaction Satisfaction levels increase when workers are near win- dows. Dr. Kjeld Johnsen, of the Danish Building Research Institute, reported that not only did individual satisfac- tion improve with proximity to windows, but that the converse negative eff ects of increasing the distance from windows was greater as the number of people Evidence-Based reasons for daylighting work areas within patient units Bright Ideas 48 Medical Construction & Design | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2017 | MCDM AG.COM

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