Because hospitals provide a wide range of services and are made up of many functional units, they are the most complex of building types. Hospitals have diagnostic and treatment functions, such as clinical laboratories, imaging, emergency rooms, and surgery; hospitality functions, such as food service and housekeeping; and inpatient care or bed-related functions. Good hospital design integrates functional requirements with the human needs of its varied users. This need for diverse functions is reflected in the breadth and specificity of regulations, codes, and oversight that govern hospital construction and operations. Each of the wide-ranging and constantly evolving functions of a hospital, including highly complicated mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications systems, requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Hospital design is also influenced by site restraints and opportunities, climate, surrounding facilities, budget, and available technology. All hospitals should have certain common attributes, regardless of their location, size or budget.
Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
An efficient hospital layout should promote staff efficiency by minimizing distance of necessary travel between frequently used spaces; allow visual supervision of patients; provide an efficient logistics system for supplies and food (and removal of waste); make efficient use of multi-purpose spaces and consolidate spaces when possible.
Flexibility and Expandability
Medical needs and modes of treatment will continue to change. Therefore, hospitals should follow modular concepts of space planning and layout; use generic room sizes and plans as much as possible; use modular, easily accessed, and easily modified mechanical and electrical systems; and be open-ended, with well-planned directions for future expansion.
Patients and visitors should perceive a hospital as unthreatening, comfortable, and stress-free. The interior designer plays a major role in this effort to create a therapeutic environment. For example, this can be accomplished by using cheerful and varied colors and textures, by allowing ample natural light wherever feasible, by providing views of the outdoors from every patient bed, and by designing a “way-finding” process into every environment.
Cleanliness and Sanitation
Hospitals must be easy to clean and maintain. This is facilitated by appropriate, durable finishes for each functional space; careful detailing of such features as doorframes, casework, and finish transitions to avoid dirt-catching and hard-to-clean crevices and joints; and adequate and appropriately located housekeeping spaces.
All areas, both inside and out, should comply with all standards and minimum requirements of Americans with Disability Act, and ensure grades are flat enough to allow easy movement and sidewalks and corridors are wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass easily.
Security and Safety
Hospitals have several particular security concerns, such as protection of patients and staff, hospital property and assets (including drugs), and also vulnerability to terrorism because of high visibility. Security and safety must be built into the design with these things in mind.
Hospitals are large public buildings that have a significant impact on the environment and economy of the surrounding community. They are heavy users of energy and water and produce large amounts of waste. Because of this, sustainable design must be considered when designing and building hospitals.
Philippi Quality Construction
With more than 20 years of experience as designers and builders in healthcare facilities, Philippi Quality Construction understands that expanding your current facility or building a new one is the most exciting yet challenging endeavor your organization will ever experience. A successful hospital design and building project requires careful planning. Philippi Quality Construction’s team approach to architecture and construction eliminates problems by accepting full responsibility for the design and construction, resulting in a smooth experience. For more information about Philippi’s team approach to hospital building and design, go to www.manitowocconstruction.com.