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Factors to Consider in Healthcare Facilities Design and Architecture

Conduct a literature review about the important of hospitals design in satisfaction of patients, satisfaction of staff, healing process, and infection control.

Health care facilities design and architecture are very important for present day scenario. Those days are behind when hospitals owners could ignore the little factors like cleanliness, separate room for patients, hand hygiene, natural lightning, windows in room, proper air ventilation, etc. Now, these factors cannot be ignored. Hospitals owners are spending lot of money in patient safety and satisfaction. This does not only increases their ratings but also helps in their profits. They are more focussed to design their hospitals in such a way that they are more environment-friendly. Such designs can help patient to recover fast from their injuries, especially mental injuries. They also reduce their hospital stay which helps the hospital in terms of patient satisfaction. New designs not only help in patient satisfaction but also in staff satisfaction. Dedicated area for staff members can really help them in lot of ways. Designing waiting area and accommodation for family members where they do not feel any discomfort can help them as well as patients. New hospitals are also focussed on infection control because an infection can easily spread in hospitals. Designing an emergency department which can be modified in to isolation room, spacious corridors and intensive care units for infants where they can stay with their parents, which is very beneficial in case of emergencies. These designs have proven to increase patient and staff satisfaction, and they have also proven to increase revenue of health care facilities.

For any health organization, patient’s satisfaction is the most important aspect. Patient’s satisfaction covers the entire health care process and consultation and it determines the service provided by the health care facilities. When a patient walks into a hospital along with his family members, there is some stress regarding the service and facility of hospital. A healthy design of the hospital can reduce these levels of stress up to some extent. Various design features which includes lighting conditions, noise level, air quality, design quality of patient room should be considered while designing new buildings. Use of sound absorbent materials will reduce the ambient sound (Arndt, 2017). Proper ventilation and conditioning of air should be there in the entire hospital. There should be standardization of rooms to avoid confusion. The basic supplies and medical equipment should be placed at such a position that they are near to every room. There should be clear markings in the hospital for navigation purpose. Providing space for friends and family members of the patient would also create a much difference. The waiting room area should also be made according to the comfort level of visitors.  Minute things like doors position, handrails, etc. can save a lot of injuries. More emphasis is given on single patient room, which will also reduce the chances of infection (MacAllister, Zimring & Ryherd, 2016). Hospitals should also include hotel or resort like facilities like entertainment on demand and room services. The corridors and waiting area should be designed in such a way that it can be converted into treatment area in case of an emergency. Using latest communication devices by the staff members also ensures patient’s safety. Wireless hands-free devices are used among top hospitals. The range of these devices depends upon the construction of the building. Hence, it should be designed in such a way that maximum coverage area is achieved and no corner or area is left isolated (trusteemag, 2016).

Patient Satisfaction and Stress Reduction


The satisfaction of staff members plays a crucial role in health industry. If they provide a better service quality then the patients will have better experience. The design of hospital can also be made such that it helps the staff in their work as well as in their relaxation time. A dedicated area must be provided for staff members only, so that they can relax in their without any disturbance. This area should include cafeteria, lounge or dining area where they can also talk with their colleagues. The structure of the building should be in such a way that it should provide some outdoor area for natural sunlight (Al-Abri & Al-Balushi, 2014). It will help both the patients and the staff members. It will create a sense of positivity in them. There should be quiet patient rooms with isolated areas where the team of doctor and nurses can talk after evaluating the patient’s disease. Areas with glass conference rooms provide the doctors to discuss about patients while they can watch them. The design of patient’s room should include a space where a doctor can directly chart about the patient’s information so they do not have to wait for other charts at nurse’s station (AAMC, 2017).

A thoughtful architectural design can promote healing process in patients and can have huge impact on their recovery. Interior designers have transformed medical space into a healing environment. They are designing new health care facilities so that patients can have a home like feeling. This change in health care facilities has proven to enhance the healing process of patients. They can transform the view of the hospital into a soothing place which will bring mental health and inner peace in patients (Sageglass, 2017; Abinama & Jafari, 2015).

The design of new hospitals should be environmental friendly as well as equipped with latest technology. According to the studies, the hospitals which have high end amenities like hotels and resorts are more likely to attract patient as compared to clinical facilities. The hospitals can include garden, landscape features, water features and art, which will provide a closure to the patients with nature. They can also include vibrant colours on inner walls and windows which will help them to enjoy natural light, fresh air and outside atmosphere. This can be beneficial for mental patients by making them clam and peaceful. (MacAllister, Bellanti & Sakallaris, 2016). They should provide a pet friendly area because most of the people have pets and they are very much attached to them. It will help in their recovery fast. In case of a chemotherapy patient, whose treatment is for hours, a sloping wall of a window will allow them to look outside and feel calm. Other design features can also help in healing process, for example, studies have shown that walking on the labyrinth reduces blood pressure and maintains heart rate (Huisman, Morales, Hoof & Kort, 2012).

Staff Satisfaction and Work Efficiency


Another concept in this area is of personalized patient room which is already been applied in some hospitals. In these rooms, a patient can find his or her favourite magazines, videos, music, etc. There is also one patient communication board on which the name of doctors and attendants as well as latest updates and information regarding diseases can be displayed which will make the patient comfortable in lot of ways (Siddiqui, Zuccareli, Durkin, Wu & brotman, 2015). Patient’s room should be included with controllable window shades. Hence, such small design features should be included for faster healing of patients. Such rooms should be designed where small children can stay with their parents. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) can be designed in such a way that new infants can stay with their mother as they need their mother after they are born. This will help to create the bond stronger (Yamaguchi, 2015).

The infrastructure and architecture of health care facility is an important component in prevention and control of an infection. These measures should be taken seriously at the planning stage of the facility. There should be a balance between them, since hospitals are public place, it should be open, easily accessible where as it should also reduce the spread of infections. The design of new health facility should be in such a way that it should not only prevent the infection but also reducing it. When older hospitals were built, there were not so many known infections, but today with so many new types of infections it is a basic requirement to design them from infection control point of view (Lateef, 2009).

There are many areas where architectures can work on hospitals design to prevent or reduce infections. All the methods of infection control mainly depend up on the two things, isolation and ventilation. There are only a few numbers of hospitals which have isolations rooms in emergency departments and intensive care units. Earlier hospitals were designed with two or more patients placed closed to each other so that nursing staff could good care of them, as they have to move very few steps. New designs are based on the outcome of the hospitals which are based on the patient’s satisfaction and safety. Standard cleaning procedures and standard air and water systems have reduces the percentage of spreading of infection to a great extent. The main source of spreading of infection in today’s hospitals is the person moving from patient to patient with the same medical equipment and devices. This is due to close proximity of the patients. With private rooms, this type of problem is solved because staff members and patients do not share space (Stiller, Salm, Bischoff & Gastmeier, 2016).

Promoting the Healing Process Through Design

Ventilation basically means moving the outside air into the hospital. It is used to provide fresh air to the patient. It also removes the pollutants from the infected air. There is another new design technique which is called negative pressure ventilation which is now available in some hospitals. The air supply in these rooms is much less then exhaust rate. In this way the infected air cannot stay in the room and with the help of an exhaust fan it is circulated to the outside environment. Hence, it makes very important to discuss the architecture with the ventilation engineer. Whenever, there is an infection outbreak, such type of ventilation design can help the staff members from spreading of infection (Khan, Ahmed & Mehboob, 2015).


One other important measure to prevent the spread of infection is having good habits or infection control practice. It includes regular cleaning and washing of accessories. One example is good hand hygiene. Maximum times, an infection can be easily controlled by washing hands. Whether it is a private room, semi private or a general ward there should be proper hand washing facilities. By having such facilities direct and indirect transmission of infections can be controlled. Hence, during the design of building a health care facility, one should take care that, a dedicated hand washing facility should be installed near each and every patient’s room which will be beneficial for patient, staff members and visitors. There should be separate rooms in the hospital for keeping dirty linens and accessories. The floor, furniture, countertops, etc. should be designed in such a way that they can be cleaned in easy and proper way. There should also be proper accommodation for keeping personal equipment. On the other hand, all these things should be in such a way that they do not reduce efficiency of staff members (HERD, 2013; Healthcaredsign, 2009).

Conclusion

New designs and modifications are very much needed in health care facilities. In the coming years, all of the hospital owners will be involved in changing the hospital designs to meet the current requirement. They are hiring young and new architectures that can provide with new and efficient designs. They are using the latest technology for patient satisfaction and infection control. By doing so, both, patients as well as staff members will be satisfied. Such changes in the designs will also help the hospitals in terms of cost as well. For example, designing for private rooms for patients and their family members will cost initially, but this cost can be overcome in few years because appropriate charges will be there for such facilities. Similarly, in case of infection control, hospitals are adapting new and latest architecture which is helping them is case of emergencies. New technology like negative pressure room, which does not allow infected air to flow. A new design, which makes hospitals closure to nature, helps the patient in healing. With these new designs there will be fewer errors in medication and the environment will be peaceful.

References

AAMC (2017). New Hospital Design Focuses on Safety, Patient Experience. Retrieved from: https://news.aamc.org/patient-care/article/if-we-build-good-hospital-they-will-come/

Abinama, A. & Jafari, M. (2015). The Impact of the Design of Hospitals on Hospital Hoteling, Healing Process and Medical Tourism. Modern Applied Science, 9(12), 1523-1525.

Al-Abri, R. & Al-Balushi, A. (2014). Patient Satisfaction Survey as a Tool Towards Quality Improvement. Oman medical journals, 29(1), 3-7.

Arndt, R.Z. (2017). Redesigning hospitals with patient experience in mind. Retrieved from: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20171111/NEWS/171109884

Healthcaredesign (2009). Designing for Infection Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/architecture/designing-infection-prevention/

HERD (2013). Understanding the Role of Facility Design in the Acquisition and Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections. Retrieved from: https://digimags.vendomegrp.com/html/HERD-Supplement/HERD_Special.pdf

Huisman, E.R.C.M., Morales, E., Hoof, J.V. & Kort, H.S.M. (2012). Healing environment: A review of the impact of physical environmental factors on users. Building and Environment, 58, 70-80.

Khan, H.A., Ahmed, A. & Mehboob, R. (2015). Nosocomial infections and their control strategies. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 5(7), 509-514.

Lateef, F. (2009). Hospital design for better infection control. Journal of Emergencies, trauma and shock, 2(3), 175-179.

MacAllister, L., Bellanti, D. & Sakallaris, B.R. (2016). Exploring Inpatients' Experiences of Healing and Healing Spaces. Journal of patient ecperiance, 3(4), 119-130.

MacAllister, L., Zimring, C. & Ryherd, E. (2016). Environmental Variables That Influence Patient Satisfaction. Health environments research & design journal, 10(1), 152-155.

Sageglass (2017). HEALING ARCHITECTURE: HOSPITAL DESIGN AND PATIENT OUTCOMES. Retrieved from: https://www.sageglass.com/en/article/healing-architecture-hospital-design-and-patient-outcomes

Siddiqui, Z.K., Zuccareli, R., Durkin, N. Wu, A. W., Brotman, D.J. (2015). Changes in patient satisfaction related to hospital renovation: Experience with a new clinical building. Journal of hospital medicine, 10(3), 165-171.

Stiller, A., Salm, F., Bischoff, P. & Gastmeier, P. (2016). Relationship between hospital ward design and healthcare-associated infection rates: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Antimicrobial resistance & infection control, 5, 51-60.

Trusteemag (2016). Building hospitals to improve patient safety. Retrieved from: https://www.trusteemag.com/articles/1060-building-hospitals-to-improve-patient-safety

Yamagucgi, Y. (2015). Better Healing from Better Hospital Design. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2015/10/better-healing-from-better-hospital-design

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