Medical Construction & Design

JAN-FEB 2015

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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7. Flexibility A key feature of The Nebraska BPCU is its fl exibility. Five patient rooms allow the unit to function as a normal inpatient ward when not needed for biocontainment purposes. This ample size also lets the unit adapt to the varying demands of dif erent diseases. In the treatment of Ebola, for example, unneeded patient rooms can be repurposed for other uses. These include: a) Dirty storage: The treatment of one Ebola patient produces eight 55-gallon bar- rels of medical waste each day. Even with an autoclave, the purifying of this waste is a slow process, taking an average of 12 hours a day. With the autoclave limiting the rate of waste disposal, extra storage space is needed to contain the waste until it can be sent through. The unit's fl exible design allows one patient room to serve as this staging area. b) Point-of-care laboratory: The signifi - cant loss of fl uids experienced by Ebola patients requires regular lab testing. To expedite results, and avoid the extra step of purifying samples in the dunk tank, the unit's size permits a spare patient room to be converted temporarily into a point-of- care lab. c) Clean storage: In addition to keeping infection contained, negative-pressure rooms can also function to keep germs out. This allows a patient room to be repurposed as a clean staging area, storing medical equipment that must be kept close- at-hand in a sterile environment. 8. Patient comfort In the sustained isolation of a BPCU, care must be taken to attend to the patient's mental health. Large windows in each patient room provide crucial daylight and a connection to the outside world, which research suggests reduces stress and improves outcomes. The installation of video phones allows the patient to "visit" with family, and allows consulting physicians to see the patient without entering the unit. Safe place for care The presence of a BPCU allows the Nebraska Medical Center to treat infectious diseases at a greatly decreased risk to care- givers. Its special air handling system allows for the treatment of airborne diseases, while its special throughput features, waste-han- dling equipment and fl exibility enable it to treat hemorrhagic fever viruses like Ebola. By attending to the patient experience, this design also reduces the stress associated with lengthy isolation. John W. Andrews, AIA, NCARB, is vice president, senior project manager and healthcare market sector leader for LEO A DALY. He has 35 years of experience designing medical facilities, including the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit. A temporary point-of-care lab can be erected in an unused patient room for quicker lab results if desired. MCDM AG.COM | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2015 | Medical Construction & Design 33

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