Building flexible hospital rooms that can accommodate multiple functions has become a top priority in healthcare design. If a room/space can serve as the environment for several different things, then the level of hospital efficiency goes up and costs to patients go down. To understand just how much, Joseph Johnston Jr., principal at FreemanWhite (San Diego), estimates that each unavailable operating room can cost a hospital at least $86,000 in daily revenue/opportunity cost.
Healthcare providers are looking to designers to help implement flexible hospital rooms. The hybrid hospital rooms need to addresses both patient and staff satisfaction. It’s a tall order—but one that comes with plenty of reward. so the extra investment it takes to create flexible hospital rooms inevitably pays for itself.
What should designers look for to make this happen?
Not every room is properly equipped to act as a multipurpose area. Designers should look for the following characteristics when designing a flexible hospital room.
A high ceiling is necessary to accommodate healthcare technology/equipment and the space needed to do repairs. A minimum floor-to-floor height of 16 feet will provide vertical clearance for tall equipment, with at least 4 feet of above-ceiling space, the majority of which will be taken up by HVAC equipment to achieve the air flow levels required by sterile environments.
Big Open Floor Plan
long and wide floor space is necessary to accommodate equipment, beds, staff, tables etc. most endeavors and anticipate future ones, but not so large that the transportation time for patients and staff is increased. Longer staff travel distances are inefficient and may unnecessarily lengthen the duration of simple procedures and turnover time.
Having large doors allows equipment, beds and tables to be rolled in and out easily.
Plenty of Outlets and Lighting
Access to plenty of outlets and overhead lighting that can be adjusted will ensure that the room can be easily configured in several different ways.
Smooth hospital floors will allow quick changes and clean ups.