By Dr Jane Repin Carthey
COVID-19 has shaken up the world of healthcare design
COVID-19 has shaken up the world over the last 18 months or so. Travel, socialising, employment and business have taken a massive hit, and the health sector has possibly undergone the biggest evolution. Health services, including hospitals (ED, ICU and IPU) and front line service providers such as GPs, have had to consider how they do business. Their concerns have included reducing the spread of infection, keeping non-infectious staff and patients safe, and providing adequate, suitable capacity to respond to increased demand for treatment and hospital beds. We are now moving into the next phase of the pandemic, where safely vaccinating people, as quickly as possible, is the primary concern.
The hospitals and other buildings that support healthcare delivery are rarely the priority in this type of situation. The organisational models for care delivery plus the associated workforce are the first consideration in such circumstances. However, these models and their staffing requirements must have suitable physical facilities to deliver the necessary health services. This short piece summarises a review of international and national responses to the demands of the pandemic on healthcare facilities. It is not intended to be comprehensive and will be expanded in future blog posts.
This list was developed for the Optimising Health Environments Seminar 2021 as an overview of the types of literature available relevant to the future design of healthcare facilities to cope with pandemics.
Although the output of peer-reviewed literature dealing with the Covid-19 is increasing, most of it is to date is related to clinical and organisational issues rather than facility responses. Some academics are writing about facility issues, with output expected to increase in quality and quantity over the next year. Trade and similar publications contain articles regarding possible facility responses. Architects’ professional associations publish guides and articles in some countries. Globally, the Union of International Architects Public Health Group (UIAPHG) has dedicated a website page to a list of these resources. Some of the larger consulting firms have published guides to designing healthcare facilities to cope with Covid-19, and most of these also suggest how to futureproof facilities against the next pandemic.
Healthcare Design Magazine
(USA) Albert, J. (2020). Reimagining Healthcare Design After COVID-19 [Perspective / opinion]. Healthcare design. Retrieved August 9, 2020, from https://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/trends/perspectives/reimaging-healthcare-design-after-covid-19/
Fowler, J. (2020). Strategies for Reopening During The COVID-19 Pandemic [Opinion]. Healthcare design. Retrieved August 9, 2020, from https://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/trends/perspectives/strategies-for-reopening-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
McCarthy, A. (2020). Implications of COVID-19 on Healthcare Design. Healthcare design. Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/trends/perspectives/implications-of-covid-19-on-healthcare-design
Kacik, A. (2020). Pandemic prompts flexible healthcare design. Modern Healthcare, 50(20), 2
Stone, K. (2020). Planning Next: The eReport for planning and designing health’s future beyond COVID-19. https://www.cannondesign.com/ereport/
Ramboll. (2021). Pandemic Resilience. Retrieved February 15 from http://www.pandemic-resilience.com/
Eastwood, T. (2020). Pandemic preparedness: How hospitals can adapt buildings to address worst-case scenarios. Stantec. Retrieved April 13 from https://www.stantec.com/en/ideas/content/blog/2020/pandemic-preparedness-how-hospitals-can-adapt-buildings-to-address-worst-case-scenarios
Following is a summary of some of the key findings and issues to be considered from the literature to date. These findings are sorted under several headings – although some may be relevant to more than one of these themes. The work of Arup/HKS is acknowledged with many illustrations drawn from their excellent document – referenced above.
There will be another pandemic! We need to be better prepared.
The New Yorker (Emma Roulette)
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