This year, healthcare buildings, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, senior living facilities, and more, have been put to the ultimate test. Amid the scramble that many physicians, architects, and healthcare consultants have faced, important factors must be considered to help discern how modern healthcare facility design can support cleaner, safer buildings.
There are many considerations that will continue to make a significant impact on the interior design choice for healthcare facilities in the future. Right now, healthcare buildings are struggling to accept the sudden surge of patients and comply with the necessary distancing measures. Many aren't equipped with surface materials that cut down on the risks for contamination and maintenance time. These are all considerations that will continue to make a significant impact on the interior design choices for healthcare facilities in the future.
Below, you will learn about the most recent and relevant strategies for expanding or partitioning healthcare building space, and the best interior products that stand up to new cleaning standards, avoid contamination, and minimize maintenance.
Creating Temporary or Partitioned Healthcare Facility Spaces
While we don’t know everything that is in store for the design of healthcare building interiors over the next few years, we are certain it’s crucial to identify and prepare solutions with the ability to adapt. Having the ability to quickly create temporary or partitioned healthcare facility spaces will be essential, particularly in the following areas.
Isolate ED Entryways, Triage and Treatment Spaces
In recent months, healthcare facilities have had to address the increased need, or consider the future need, for more isolation rooms or partitioned areas. Looking ahead, buildings may need to create space that allows for patient and staff traffic flow and treatment areas that are away from other parts of a facility. In addition, healthcare facilities may need to account for triage space and ED entryways based on the type of injury or illness. This will allow for appropriate separation and isolation areas, if required.
Reconfigure Waiting Rooms and Public Spaces
There are many ways waiting rooms and public spaces can be reconfigured to allow for distancing between people waiting for treatment. Options like waiting in outdoor areas, self-check-in stations, and self-rooming are on the rise to minimize interactions with others.
Additionally, areas such as break rooms, locker rooms, dining areas, and common spaces will need solutions to allow for greater occupant separation.
As we look ahead, there’s no doubt that building interior features will be put into place to create a greater physical separation between people when queuing, waiting, or utilizing common area spaces.
Increase Inpatient Surge Capacity
Reimagining healthcare facility design will be more important than ever in the event a building must accommodate a surge in capacity. Designers and healthcare workers must consider how to reconfigure their designs, create separation, and add additional beds to patient rooms or flex rooms for immediate care / ICU capacity. Another factor to increasing space capacity is considering how essential services can still be offered to meet patient and staff needs.
How To Create Healthcare Facility Space For Greater Capacity and Distancing
Do you need to make better use of your current space, create greater distancing in common areas or among workstations, or be prepared for potential increased capacity? There are many quick and easy solutions that allow for the segmentation of spaces anywhere you may need them, including:
- An easy-to-install, bendable curtain track that allows for the quick sectioning of spaces.
- Disposable curtains are a great way to eliminate the need for laundering in areas where quick and frequent change-outs are needed.
- Portable room dividers, such as EZE-Space™ room dividers, can help provide maximized privacy in a minimized footprint.
Selecting Healthcare Facility Interior Products that Support Cleanability Standards
As hospital infection control and prevention teams provide vital input in the design of healthcare facilities and the selection of interior products, it is now more important than ever to incorporate design features that are easy to clean and that stand up to the demands of harsher chemicals.
One of the most imperative, and potentially lifesaving considerations for healthcare facility design and interior product selection is how surfaces are used and cleaned in a space. Consider selecting smart materials that reduce touchpoints, offer antimicrobial features, and mitigate contamination throughout a building.
In addition to the ability to withstand new cleaning processes and harsher chemicals, your surfaces, fabrics, and other interior materials should be resistant - or even repellent - to prevent contamination. Harmful bacteria have the potential to colonize on almost every surface, but choosing non-porous materials can make surfaces inhospitable to these nasty bugs, offering a passive antimicrobial benefit.
How do you choose the right facility interiors and surfaces? Learn more now on how to select options that save maintenance time and improve cleanliness.
Non-Porous and Easy to Clean
Consider surfaces that are non-porous and employ antimicrobial technologies to reduce contamination in buildings. Inpro’s BioPrism® Solid Surface Material inhibits the growth of mold and mildew, so facilities can maintain a high standard of hygiene. The material is made of renewable materials and stands up to the harshest of cleaning solutions. Designed to protect vulnerable surfaces including walls, shower bases and surrounds, washroom privacy partitions, and window sills, BioPrism works to actively eliminate dangerous contaminates.
Watch how BioPrism Solid Surface stands up to the toughest disinfectants.
There are hot zones in healthcare buildings, including lobbies and waiting rooms, patient rooms, dining areas, and corridors that can also benefit from antimicrobial products.SureContact® Handrails incorporate Sanitized® Zinc Pyrithione non-leaching technology to help eliminate microorganisms. This ingredient inactivates harmful microbes, creating a permanently protected surface. This physical mode of action does not promote microbe cell mutation and does not leach into the surrounding environment.
One of the main challenges with healthcare facility bathrooms is often poor ventilation and humidity levels that become too high, especially in shower areas. Another contributor is the presence of older tile and grout that often is not sealed and can harbor mold. In addition, studies have found that when shower curtains are present, it is three times more likely mold and mildew development will occur.
As discussed above, BioPrism is a non-porous, antimicrobial material perfect for restrooms, and the material can also be routed to look like tile without the risk of harboring mold and mildew.
Textiles used in healthcare buildings are an area of concern for cross-contamination and insufficient sanitation can be detrimental to the health conditions within a facility. When not cleaned properly, textiles are capable of carrying bacteria for up to 90 days. Fabrics also may influence the types of cleaning processes needed (such as laundering) and the degree of maintenance required for a particular space.
For spaces that require 24/7 maintenance, there are two solutions you may want to consider.
- Shield by Panaz® fabrics provide superior protection with a minimal need for laundering. The material is also easy to wipe down in place, is stain and liquid repellent, and antibacterial to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
- For temporary spaces or areas that require frequent curtain change-outs, disposable cubicle curtains are an ideal solution. These curtains are cost-effective, easy to store, and 100-percent recyclable.
Decorative Options that Promote Cleanliness
Are you looking for a beautiful aesthetic that also supports the cleanability of your space?
Solid surface wall panels can be routed with different designs to achieve the look of tile without the use of porous grout. The designs add decorative patterns but don’t compromise the material’s integrity. Designers have an aesthetic alternative to smooth panels by choosing decorative designs like diamonds, subway tile, squares, and beadboard.
Looking for more design ideas? Take a look at this recent industry roundtable, where business owners, designers, and manufacturers share how healthcare product design has evolved to support infection control initiatives.
Incorporating Healthcare Facility Design Modifications
The delivery of health care continues to evolve and healthcare workers and facility managers are taking several urgent steps to keep occupants safe–with a focus on facility cleanability and bacteria mitigation. What modifications will your healthcare building make to prepare for improved distancing measures, a possible surge of patients, and more stringent cleaning procedures using harsher chemicals?
Learn about Inpro’s solutions for cleaner surfaces in your healthcare facility including corridors, patient rooms, washrooms, and more.