HARLEY ELLIS DEVEREAUX
Firm's role on the project: Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors
To improve efficiency, safety, and satisfaction for both patients and staff with the design of a new bed tower for the hospital, a place where patients get better and where staff wishes to work.
It was a challenge to plan the central core of the patient floor with everything needing to be centrally located. This challenge impacted outcomes in all three of the design goals. The further each room is from the center, the further a staff member has to walk to retrieve supplies, etc. which reduces staff satisfaction and the time patients have with their medical team.
A project team consisting of staff and design members used a three-step process. The first step involved research on best practice and evidence, where it could be obtained, describing how other hospitals successfully dealt with these issues in nursing units. Those ideas that had been studied completely, such as access to staff lounges with windows (i.e. supports staff satisfaction/retention) were considered a must in the design. Other studies by Harley Ellis Devereaux and other architects that had not been completed to date were presented as opportunities for further study in a team workshop setting and early mock-ups.
Early mock-ups using simple, easily obtained materials were done within a large open space (vacant medical office suite). This was incredibly productive and aided the creativity in solving vexing issues. The third step was a review of the more detailed design of the unit and patient rooms in a team setting with deliberation involving physicians, nurses, and support staff to balance the costs and benefits of room placement and detail. This resulted in the creation of a ¾ finished patient room, which allowed the design team to refine details toward the goals.
A team of nurses and hospital administrators were determined to divide patient floors into two “units.” There would be a duplication of medication, clean, soiled, nourishment, and decentralized workstations with a centralized equipment room and collaboration center. Priorities were developed based on which support services were most frequently used. Travel distances were reduced to approximately 25 feet from every room to key support services. The central collaboration center allows for a single place to communicate both professionally and socially, which helps reduce the feelings of isolation.