The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the healthcare industry to fast-track a decade’s worth of facility updates into the span of 12 months.

Hospitals and clinics now focus on integrated design, where workflows and space flexibility, user feedback, cleaning requirements, and material durability are essential considerations.

Whether you are designing a new healthcare facility or planning an update, here are four reasons that an integrated approach to healthcare design will improve the outcome and how Acculine has created the right solution for your hospital’s needs.

#1: Understanding the Workflow of a Unit Impacts Your Design in Productive Ways

The first and most essential part of the integrated design process is to make sure that you have detailed information on how the space will be used.

The best design is really in the details, isn’t it!? Consider these questions:

  • Will patients be in the area, or just employees?
  • What interactions, treatments, or procedures will be done in this area?
  • How will employees and patients enter and exit this area?
  • Does the design allow for easy, spacious navigation that avoids crowding and visitor confusion?
  • Can mobile equipment and supplies be easily transported without damage to the facility or the equipment?
  • Is there enough convenient, secure storage for necessary supplies?

The recent months have taught healthcare facility managers that flexibility needs to be a top design consideration. Almost overnight, hospitals and clinics had to figure out how to safely accommodate additional patients, new PPE donning and doffing processes, limits on visitors and employee interactions, and new staff positions, like screeners.

If the needs of your space change, can you accommodate the updates quickly and easily in ways that make both staff and patients feel safer?

Once you have a good understanding of how your facility will operate, you can successfully select the resources, supplies, equipment, and services that will be the most durable, attractive, and appropriate for those needs.

Elements like wall protection, handrails and door protection may not be the first design elements that come to mind, but they are all essential to a smooth, safe, and efficient workflow.

#2: Getting Feedback on Product Enhancements Drives Accurate Choices

Another essential step in designing a new healthcare space should be asking for staff input. Listening sessions and shadowing processes can help designers learn how employees use products and collect their feedback on enhancements. A happy staff means a happy work environment!

The voice of the end user needs to be central to the design process as well. There are many details (both large and small) that can be integrated to select products that meet the needs of frontline caregivers and their patients.

You should also solicit this valuable feedback by involving other departments in the design and product selection process for a specific area. Environmental services/housekeeping, infection prevention, and the frontline clinical staff should all be included.

It’s also important to remember that new design elements can sometimes mean new maintenance tasks and an extra burden on staff. During the planning and product selection process, it’s important to consider all maintenance requirements, and question any additions that may be unnecessary.

Always make sure that any extra features are truly essential, particularly if they require extra cleaning or could be easily damaged.

#3: Understanding the Cleaning Requirements of the Environment Before You Choose Products Provides Big Savings

It’s important to think about the ongoing cleaning and maintenance needs of any products you select.

Consider these questions about cleaning requirements:

  • What are the cleaning process requirements that need to be followed in order to keep these spaces sanitary and attractive?
  • Does the staff have the knowledge and time needed to follow the recommended cleaning protocols?
  • Are any specialized tools or chemicals needed?
  • Will the materials you have selected stand up to these cleaning needs on a long-term basis?

Using the wrong materials in your design can lead to stained and damaged surfaces. This is unattractive at best, and can influence your staff and patients’ perception of cleanliness.

Make sure that you select surfaces that can stand up to chemicals, impacts, and even those that can make cleaning easier via inherent antimicrobial properties.

#4: Understanding How Your Needs and Options have Changed, Will Impact Your Choices

COVID 19 has led to changes in nearly all places where people interact. New applications and markets for durable, cleanable products that support these changes are essential in both healthcare facilities and in many other industries as well.

Areas of healthcare facilities that previously did not get as much infection prevention focus (lobbies, waiting rooms, family areas of patient rooms, staff lounges) are now getting a level of scrutiny that was previously reserved for spaces like operating rooms.

Infection prevention is now essential in these areas that were previously seen as less critical. Make sure you reconsider and update your surfaces, cleaning processes, and workflows in these areas.

In addition, industries such as retail and hospitality are now facing the same issues that healthcare has historically dealt with, such as selecting surfaces that can stand up to frequent and thorough cleaning.

In order to integrate new needs, many industries are selecting products with focus on evidence-based design. This means that these products have been tested and proven in their final field environment, instead of making choices based only on appearance, or what has been used in the past.

When you are looking for protection in a demanding environment, make sure that you make selections that have been proven to be successful under the same conditions.

Ensuring Safety with an Integrated Approach to Healthcare Design

Within healthcare and beyond, facility managers and designers are making updates with a focus on spaces that can be safely used and maintained on a daily basis.

From products that stand up to heavy cleaning and abuse to solutions that protect safety, health and appearance – Acculine is here to help prepare people and buildings for whatever’s next.

With help from the experts at Acculine, it’s easy to select functional products that will keep your facility clean and attractive on a long-term basis. At Acculine, we’re not just building products, we’re building a better tomorrow, learn more now.

Published by Inpro®