Pre- and Post-Occupancy Evaluation

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November 17, 2022

Knowledge, Research


By Teri Joy

In early 2020, a long-term fear of many healthcare officials became a reality as a novel coronavirus quickly became a global pandemic. Over the next several weeks, entire healthcare systems were overrun with what became COVID-19 patients.

As the virus made its way to and across the US, there was little time to ascertain the risk and make appropriate accommodations. To help ensure the proper steps were being taken, the pre-and post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) of alterations in healthcare environments began to take shape. This pandemic has forever affected how we think about disease transmission, safety, and knowledge from care providers about how to innovate in healthcare settings in less than 24 hours.

Occupancy evaluations in the lens of a pandemic have furthered the importance of pre-and post-occupancy tools and processes for the future of healthcare design.

In August 2020, the emergent reactive portion of the effort had possibly passed. It appeared there was an opportunity to document the steps taken by different teams – from a facilities’ and operational perspective – within many healthcare environments. As we know, many surges have occurred since March 2020. Key ideas that are emerging from post-occupancy evaluations that are impacting healthcare design include flexibility of healthcare spaces, high acuity patients need a high acuity room, visualization to other care providers and patients is key, and staff respite and retention is now of utmost importance.

This paper includes a multidisciplinary perspective of why we believe the POE process and the use of developed processes/tools are critical in optimizing future healthcare environments.

Pre- and Post-Occupancy Evaluation