Commercial Architecture May 2017 - 11
Patient lifts and transfers often can re-
where they don't have to talk in front
sult in injuries to the patient, staff, or fam-
of the patient or in front of the fami-
ily. Often, the patient or family will try to
ly," Suchomel commented.
move themselves rather than wait for as-
Jeffrey Berman concurred with the
sistance. Improper lifting by staff can re-
need for touchdown or meeting spac-
sult in injuries as well. According to Tsoi/
es. "So much of medicine now is deliv-
Kobus, "This risk can be mitigated
ered by teams that consult a specific
through the installation of lift mecha-
specialist or multiple specialists, and
nisms, furniture that will allow for the
these groups need a place to go where
re-positioning of the patient prior to trans-
they have access to medical records,
fer, or locating alcoves and lift-equipment
lab reports, and X-rays and maybe go
storage areas for easy access by staff," the
back and see the patient again. That
sort of working meeting space is be-
One of the biggest things in terms of
coming a critical enabler to providing
staff injury reduction or prevention is the
a higher-level care," he said.
patient lift, agreed Joan Suchomel. "There
Easier visual contact with other
are two parts to that," she explained.
staff also is helpful. "Usually there are
"One is policies and procedures for safe
technological ways to communicate
handling and training."
between staff, but sometimes it's
The mechanical patient lift is the oth-
handy if your hands are full and you
er place to prevent musculoskeletal inju-
have a patient you need help with, if
ries among staff. They can be built in or
you can see another staff member and
portable lifts, but "we're finding a lot
be able to speak to them directly that
more demand for them to be built in be-
helps," Suchomel said.
cause you don't have to go searching for a
Emphasis on clean lines of sight
lift and drag it into the room. Some staff
to the patients and to the fellow staff
might conclude it's not worth it, whereas
members is helpful, R. David Frum,
if you have a lift right in the room they're
AIA, president, Salus Architecture,
going to use it," she said.
Seattle, WA, agreed. "Maintaining
'There are different kinds of lifts, and
a continuous observation of pa-
some are more expensive than others,"
Suchomel explained. "A transverse lift
can cover almost anything in the room. It
can go left, right, up, or down. Then there
tients decreases stress and worry.
During a particularly stressful shift, caregivers may want to decompress in a quiet space, away from everyone for several minutes. This break area at ProCure Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, was designed by Tsoi/Kobus & Associates. Photo:
Jonathan Hillyer, courtesy Tsoi/Kobus.
The contact with fellow staff members assures staff they can get help
when necessary, and they are able
are other kinds of lifts that are just single
to consult with colleagues on issues
track. They might be straight or they
they're uncertain about," he said.
might be in a J so they can specifically cover certain parts of the room. The transverse lift
is more expensive but it's more flexible. I would recommend facilities have a lift in pretty
much any new patient room."
Collaboration has its place in medicine just as it does in an office, but some things that
"Another safety factor would be proper location of sharps disposal to reduce the number of needle sticks from sharps. "Some of that is regulated by either internal standards or
by OSHA, but we try to make sure those are in the right place so there is less handling of
the sharps," Suchomel said.
Personal protection equipment also should be placed where it is easily accessible to the
staff so they aren't tempted to not use it simply because it's inconvenient, she added.
used to be simple, like jotting down notes on a patient's paper chart while talking to
them, are not an option any longer. Caregivers sometimes need a quiet space to work.
"You sit at a computer and pick things off menus, write notes, and document medications and other things. You really need a quiet space to do that; it's hard to sit in a room
with a patient there, and it's hard to sit at a desk where other things are going on around
you. We're seeing documented increases in errors in charting and in medications where
these things have been done in busy, open spaces as opposed to quieter more secluded
spaces. You need a little quiet time to finish this without being disturbed," Berman said.
Almost all clinical work involves teamwork, Baker observed. "Patent encounters involve
not just a doctor but also nursing and a host of support staff. Great clinical care comes
from great teamwork, and teamwork relies on communication. Sadly, many hospital de-
Space in virtually all medical facilities is expensive, and more often than not it is
signs provide inadequate space for team meetings," she said.
limited. Planning for that space to be efficient and convenient for caregivers as well
"Staff should have a place to have private conversations while they're on the job, so if
as patients is important. Berman recounted the challenge of a small infusion center
they need to talk about a patient they can go into a huddle room or something like that
with limited space. The nursing staff spent a lot of time on charting, records, and
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