While patients should be the primary consideration when designing a healthcare facility, they can’t be the only consideration. Better outcomes rely on creating a facility that considers everyone who enters it, from the people who work there to the people who stop by for a visit.
With this in mind, as it designed the Lakeland HealthCare inpatient pavilion, the team at BSA LifeStructures looked beyond the obvious patient concerns and added features that, at first glance, might not seem to serve the patient’s needs, but that, on further review, clearly affect patient care and healthcare outcomes.
Consider a few examples:
- Visitor comfort was addressed in a number of ways, from increased space in patient rooms to specific areas set aside as family “retreats” with fireplaces, lounges and kitchenettes. To enhance the “hominess” of these spaces, cookies can be baked in the afternoon, and to welcome longer visits, Internet access is provided for visitors. To increase privacy and enhance the overall experience, elevators for patients and visitors were set apart from those for supplies and equipment. Throughout the facility, public spaces have the feel of a hotel lobby, and amenities are designed to feel less like a hospital and more hospitable.
- Outsiders often forget that hospitals are places of employment, where people spend their entire days and careers. Recognizing that job satisfaction and workplace enjoyment have an impact on patient care, BSA LifeStructures designed Lakeland HealthCare’s inpatient pavilion as a healthy, enjoyable workplace. For example, nurse stations were located so that they could receive sunlight and offer views of the outdoors, and the distances that nurses have to walk in the course of a day were reduced. The stations themselves were designed for upmost efficiency and comfort, but also to present a non-institutional and non-threatening access point for visitors. There is also a staff retreat area overlooking a courtyard for respite from the stress of the job.
- Hospitals might seem like quiet places – unless you’re trying to sleep, work or hold a private conversation in one. Design innovations small and large contributed to reduced noise levels for Lakeland HealthCare’s inpatient pavilion. Hallways were carpeted, elevators were located strategically to allow people, equipment and supplies to travel as quietly as possible through the corridors and patient-room walls were designed to lower noise “bleed-through.” The operational plan eliminated the need to use supply carts in patient hallways. The result is a 17 percent increase in patient satisfaction regarding room noise – and an overall healthier environment.