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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36 Medical Construction & Design | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2018 | MCDM AG.COM BY ROBERT F. SHARROW Patients are critically impor- tant in today's market-driven healthcare environments. And, patient satisfaction can only be achieved when the staff is fully engaged and committed to pro- viding the best care possible. Staff satisfaction goes hand-in- hand with patient satisfaction, and hospitals need to engage both to meet expectations. Patient care is demand- ing—physically, mentally and emotionally—and the best patient care starts by enabling staff to provide it. Staff needs to be fully present, to listen to their patients and to be in the mindset of healing. Busy schedules and the confl icts that arise from juggling too many tasks at one time can take their focus away from where it needs to be: on patients. Spaces can be designed to eliminate or at least reduce distractions so that healers can direct their mental energy toward optimal patient care. Enabling the staff to do their jobs starts with good design. Getting their input on design strategies and questioning them about the day-to-day aspects of their jobs will ensure the design meets their needs. In turn, it will meet the needs of the patients. Some hospitals use "shared governance" with hospital staff representatives to gather input about key decisions aff ecting policy and procedures. Retreat + restore In a caregiving environment, the staff is typically under stress and need a restorative space to care for their emotion- al well-being. With patients and their families struggling to cope with illness, emotions run high all around. The staff unavoid- ably becomes closely connected with their patients and often goes through the grieving pro- cess along with the patients and their families. When added to the facts that staff is attending to multiple patients and that they are providing hands-on care, the work environment can become very stressful. They need a private space to decompress so they can be fully present for the next patient. At Elmhurst Hospital in DuPage County, Illinois, re- storative spaces, called laven- der rooms by the staff , were included in each of the nursing units. These are private places with comfortable chairs, serene artwork and optional music that provide a setting where staff can take a few minutes to recover emotionally before going back to their roles as healers. In ad- dition to restorative spaces, staff lounges and lockers close to units can make the working en- vironment more pleasant. In an environment where nursing staff and others are circulating among patients and don't have fi xed work spaces, they need a place to complete paperwork, take breaks and store their personal belongings and family photos. Personal, professional growth Personal and professional growth is another area of staff consideration. Young profes- sionals want to grow and develop through training, so education areas are benefi cial. They want to learn everything they can and have the widest possible range of experience to build their careers, maintain certifi cations and obtain ad- ditional training. Professional development and personal development are symbiotic, and staff thrives when their Key areas + considerations with staff -focused design Getting Behind the Scenes The fi ve-year post- occupancy evaluation of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital indicated a signifi cant increase in staff satisfaction.

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