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The best hospital design plans are only as good as the processes and systems they support. What this means when it comes to patient throughput is that a well-thought-out built environment needs to have well-functioning services and policies in place to ensure that things run in a truly optimal way. One way to do this is to include the “right” people in your efforts from the very beginning onward.
What message does your Emergency Department (ED) send to patients who step through the doors? If it isn’t a comprehensively welcoming one, you could be increasing patient and family stress levels before they’ve even begun assessment or treatment. As overcrowding in EDs and awareness of the consequences grows within the healthcare industry, it’s crucial to begin taking steps to improve your care environment for staff and patients.
Behavioral health settings guided by strict safety design measures often result in spaces that are stark, plain, and isolated - potentially exacerbating environmental stressors and escalating already difficult patient situations. Acute care emergency settings have a particular set of challenges as EDs are predicting increased visits from behavioral health patients. Faced with the challenge of designing a behavioral health care setting in the Emergency Department at UnityPoint Health in Rock Island, IL, the project team hypothesized that the creation of a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) with a “Living Room Concept” would provide a higher quality of care to patients while assisting in the staff’s ability to quickly consult and treat a diverse set of patients entering the ED.