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Top Three Healthcare Design Considerations

Christian Mina • 6/1/2023

Highly specialized healthcare facilities such as hospitals and laboratories require equally specialized designs, both to ensure the facilities meet regulatory requirements and to function as intended: as places to facilitate health and well-being.

The pandemic has highlighted many opportunities to improve healthcare facility design, from strengthening infection prevention protocols, to increasing the safety and well-being of healthcare workers and patients, to facilitating more adaptable spaces across the world. the spectrum of care modalities.

Investment in infrastructure
Historically, the cost of initial investment has been a barrier to upgrading health facility infrastructure, but a number of factors are creating incentives for change. Recent increases in energy costs are one of the drivers for finding new ways to reduce consumption.
As we learned during the pandemic, investing in healthcare infrastructure also helps support safer environments and the resilience of operations. These remain the priorities.

Additionally, incorporating design solutions helps limit the spread of infection to protect vulnerable populations within healthcare facilities. In some cases, it can be as simple as providing operable windows that recirculate natural airflow. In more controlled environments, infection can be limited by providing robust HVAC systems with HEPA filtration and negative pressure systems in designated areas.

Supportive environment for employees
In the wake of the unprecedented stress of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry, the work of healthcare professionals is a growing challenge. The healthcare sector faces the challenges of the natural aging of the workforce. At the same time, the turnover of health professionals is high. These factors pushed workers to their limits.

With a diminished supply driving rising labor costs, savvy healthcare organizations are looking to attract and retain their vital workers.
As a result of this talent drain in the industry, many healthcare organizations are making facility improvements such as break rooms, outdoor spaces and enhanced security to retain and attract talent.

Improvement in security
In addition to providing support spaces for employees, many healthcare players are complementing these efforts with initiatives to improve occupant safety in common areas of the asset. This is where enhanced security plays an important role.

Before the pandemic, security was delegated to specific areas, such as the emergency room and pharmacy. With an increase in violence directed at healthcare professionals, there is an urgency to better protect healthcare workers and patients.

As a result, many healthcare providers are focused on opportunities to incorporate safety into retrofits and new construction.Patient experience and flow specialists are now critical members of the design process, and the enhanced collaborative effort is resulting in hybrid care delivery models, simplified and flexible space for caregivers, with updated audio privacy for remote visits and workflows. revised input and output.

In addition to video surveillance, access control and staff training, security is ideally incorporated into the space along with the circulation path to provide full visibility of public areas including hallways, entrances, exits and elevator lobbies. Additionally, design and procedural standards such as protective barriers in reception areas and fully remote visits are innovative solutions that keep patients and staff as safe and connected as possible.

Specific services for the health area
Cushman & Wakefield has expertise in Facilities Management and Project Development services in critical locations such as hospitals and laboratories.

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