Commercial Architecture May 2017 - 10
a safe and undisturbed manner. Workplace
transformation study, numerous studies
redesign addresses issues related to the
were accessed to understand how slips, falls,
changing dynamics of care-team interaction
and back- and lifting-injuries occur, accord-
and collaboration, as well as the differing
ing to Tsoi/Kobus & Associates. Several key
needs/priorities of the multi-generational
aspects are design specific.
workforce. Consideration for the specific
Flooring material obviously is crucial to
and unique needs of all and how these needs
preventing slips and falls. Among factors to
can be melded into a comforting, compre-
hensive, and holistic environment positively
* How difficult is it to push a cart, bed, or
equipment on it?
influences the customer experience," the
* Is the pattern of the flooring material cre-
team said. Those contributing to the discus-
ating a depth-perception issue?
sion were Rick Kobus, senior principal; Joce-
* Are transitions between different materi-
lyn Frederick, principal; and Elizabeth von
als seamless from a height perspective as
Goeler, director of interior design.
well as maintaining cadence?
The patient experience has been front
* Is the material slip resistant when wet?
and center for many years, partly because it's
the right thing to do and partly because it
The emphasis on healthcare flooring,
has financial consequences to the hospital,
until recently, has been that it has to per-
commented Joan L. Suchomel, AIA, ACHA,
form. "I think traditionally we've defined
EDAC, principal, Eckenhoff Saunders Ar-
performance as it has to be durable and
chitects, Chicago. While staff costs may be a
maintainable, and the patient or resident
little harder to quantify, there's no question
has to be able to ambulate or move around
that recruiting and training new staff is cost-
on it. That's all the industry ever expected,"
ly. Consequently, retaining staff is import-
said Mark Huxta, healthcare director of
ant to healthcare organizations, she said,
sales, Ecore, Lancaster, PA.
noting that hospitals may pursue a Magnet
That thinking has shifted, Huxta
designation to that end. A Magnet hospital
thinks. "Maybe a floor can do more. It
is defined as having exceptional nursing
can be part of the solution when it comes
standards as well as a good work environ-
to patient safety and reducing risk of injury from a fall. It can enhance the quiet-
ment for nurses. Application for this status is
through the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition
Program (MRP), Silver Spring, MD.
Jeffrey Berman, AIA, ACHA, principal,
Jeffrey Berman Architect, New York, agrees
that quantifiable is good as far as it goes,
"but one of the things that so many design-
Top. A pocket park created out of a tiny corner of the Boston Children's Hospital campus adjoins the Mandell
Building, designed by Payette. The Mandell Building is located on a dense urban site and the design team
introduced connections to nature wherever possible for patients, staff, and visitors. Photo: Warren Jagger
Photography, courtesy Payette.
ness of the healing environment by pro-
Above. This is an unassigned office/touchdown station where staff can get focused work done at Univ.
of Massachusetts Medical Center, Ambulatory Care Center, Worcester, MA. The building was designed by
Payette for the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School. Photo: Rachellynn Schoen, Payette.
Comfort underfoot is appreciated by
viding acoustic properties, and it can
increase staff comfort. There are new expectations," he said.
nurses who spend long hours on their feet,
in some cases walking as many as several
ers and institutions don't look at is really a
miles a day in a single shift. A flexible ma-
work/life issue. The staff assigned to these
terial that absorbs the pressure of footsteps
can add to that comfort, according to Tim
facilities spend two-thirds of their day at
work, so the quality of the environment and the support they get from the facility is key."
Cole, vice president of marketing at nora systems Inc., Salem, NH.
The level and quality of care is very often a function of how good the working envi-
"It helps to alleviate the pressure constantly placed on the joints and reduces many of
ronment is, not just how good the patient environment is, Berman continued. "It's easy
the complaints associated with heel pain, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, knee pain, hip
to do a nice waiting room and make things look bright and pretty and open, but it's also
pain, and lower back pain, complaints common among nurses. And less pain translates
about how we support the medical staff, the providers, the nurses, the doctors, whose job
to happier nurses who are less fatigued and better able to concentrate on the tasks at hand
has become significantly more complicated from a technical and medical standpoint, but
and the patients in their care," he explained.
it's also harder in terms of just work flow and processes," he said.
Another factor that plays into staff satisfaction is the design of the patient headwall.
The location of elements such as medical gases, electrical outlets, and nurse call systems
should be designed to minimize staff from bending too low, reaching too high, or reach-
"Additionally, caregivers should not be put in the position of injuring themselves in car-
ing across the patient. During planning, mock-ups of the patient headwall will allow the
ing for patients. Patient lifts, adequately sized bathrooms, and height-adjustable exam
clinical team to discuss and refine the specific locations for all of these devices, improving
tables all contribute to a safe work environment for caregivers," Baker said.
and potentially standardizing the headwall design throughout the institution, Tsoi/Ko-
During the design phase of the Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, HealthCare campus
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