Operating Rooms Designed to Benefit Patients and the Environment

Posted by on Apr 8, 2022 in Behind the Design
Operating Rooms Designed to Benefit Patients and the Environment

Operating Rooms are one of the most important aspects of a hospital. They are places where lives are saved, complicated surgeries are done, and where medical staff spends hours on their feet.

With this in mind, healthcare designers need to pay extra attention to the interior decor, the room layout, and the materials used when designing operating rooms.

Stress Relief in the OR

Stress is the most common feeling for surgeons and staff when they go through those double doors into the operating room and for good reason. They literally hold another person’s life in their hands. Any complication can drastically change the outcome of even the most routine procedure. Designing an operating room that benefits the staff and ultimately a patient’s outcome is a high priority in healthcare design.

Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina have been working together on a project that looks for safer and less stressful OR environments. The result of the project was the construction of a 579 sq. ft. operating room prototype designed specifically to reduce stress for medical staff.

One of the fundamental characteristics of the prototype was flexibility and adaptability. The prototype Operating rooms have ancillary rooms that can be adapted to different circumstances. The room also has overhead surgical lights that could be reconfigured easily.

The prototype was also designed to optimize movement and flow. The researchers noted that the layout of an OR can give medical staff stress in different ways. For example, certain layouts cause more incidents of staff tripping over cables or bumping into equipment.

The researchers also found daylighting and artificial lighting strategies could also lower stress levels. Views of the outdoors, even from an OR, increased staff satisfaction, mood, and productivity.

Green Energy

Jodi Sherman, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at the Yale School of Medicine, said in a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that the health care industry “is a significant source of greenhouse gases and other deadly environmental emissions itself.” ORs are a significant percentage of this pollution, but there are steps that designers can take to help make ORs more green energy-friendly.

Some other articles similar to this one are The New Kid-Friendly, Interactive Space at Renown Children’s Supports the Needs of Children, Designing For Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients, and A Child’s Imagination Inspires Elements of Design.

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped develop a modern design for healthcare organizations locally, regionally, and internationally. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff

Source: Sherman JD, MacNeill A, Thiel C. Reducing Pollution From the Health Care Industry. JAMA. Published online August 02, 2019322(11):1043–1044. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10823, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2747470

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