Medical Construction & Design

JAN-FEB 2018

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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16 Medical Construction & Design | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2018 | MCDM AG.COM Thoughts on designing a better hospital, recap of 2017 Generative Space activities A Google search of "design- ing a better hospital" off ered 322,000,000 citations — a fas- cinating collection of strategies and technologies that, one way or another, claim to contribute to improving the performance of what a hospital is supposed to achieve. A quick read of this "survey" actually produced more questions than compel- ling answers — particularly for a seasoned professional. This Google literature of such dramatic scope is remark- able, particularly when you consider that only 40 years ago, the acknowledged "bible" for designing a better hospital was E. Todd Wheeler's "Hospital Modernization and Expansion." For its time it was a wealth of documented built projects that could be compared for devel- oping templates to inform the planning and design of subse- quent projects. Of course, the world has changed so much in these 40 years and seems to change more quickly with each new year. In the face of this, the question remains constant: "How do we design a better hospital?" One strand of inquiry, with regard to this question, directs its focus on what has seemed to be a blind spot in this quest. Maybe, however, rather than this particular strand being invisible – as our blind spots are, it has tended to be ignored because of its elusivity, since it falls outside of the remit of conventional hospital design and construction — particularly, as it is practiced today. Google cannot be faulted, either, for overlooking this strand — and, actually, is to be applauded in compiling such a rich collection of approaches that can — and frequently do — contribute toward design- ing a better hospital, citing strategies such as: Evidence- Based Design, infection control mitigation, participatory design, healing environments and expe- rience design — to name a few. Where is it, though, that "caring" enters into the quest for designing a better hospital?, who is responsible for rais- ing its fl ag?, how does it get "designed"? and how does the experience of being "cared for" continue when the designers, builders and even fi rst genera- tion owners have all moved on? Wheeler's 'bible' is silent on these questions, as is most of the literature that is available. It's not that these questions are so diffi cult, invisible or even irrel- evant — rather, these questions require responses that cannot easily be managed, measured, controlled or predicted. Today's practices of design, construc- tion and operations are increas- ingly fazed by these kinds of uncertainties. In 2003, The CARITAS Project fi rst defi ned and devel- oped the concept of generative space as an explicit approach to designing healthcare settings that improve individual lives, organizational performance and overall community health. Generative space is a place — both physical and social — where the experience of the participants in that place is one that both fulfi lls the functional requirements of that place and it also materially improves the health, healthcare and or qual- ity of life for those participating in that experience in a manner that they can each articulate in their own terms. The defi nition of GS signals several key design innovations that absolutely require that, at a very minimum, the experi- enced environment is perceived as caring by its users — that is, the full spectrum of a facility's users. The annual Generative Space Award (aplacetofl ourish. net) requires that its submittals demonstrate evidence of mea- surable progressive improve- ments in the caring experience of all of its users in a manner that is "mutual and reciprocal." In order to build the capacity for the fi eld to utilize GS, the Leading by Design project was initiated in 2003. Since then, a group of invited individuals has actively engaged in learning how to operationalize GS and practice it to advance the dra- matic, unprecedented improve- ments that its application makes possible. In the 15 years that GS has been informing healthcare and design, a vast range of off erings have developed. In Chicago, Illinois, for example, a voluntary group of multi-disciplinary professionals have met regularly for the past fi ve years to create programs to enable individuals to have Industry Challenging Conventional THE CARITAS PROJECT news, awards, etc. Presentation of Generative Space Award. From left, Rebecca Weidler, Stephanie Kwok, Nathan Murray and Dr. Wayne Ruga. BY DR. WAYNE RUGA Photo courtesy of HFSE

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