Designing Pandemic Resilient Healthcare Facilities

Article from MHI Solutions Magazine

For over two and a half years, the world has been fighting COVID-19, with the total death toll passing 6.5 million, and there has been a new variant every several months, making the effects of the pandemic remain active. Hence, there is an urgent need for sustainable health emergency preparedness to deal with the next pandemic with the knowledge and experience of healthcare experts and design experts. It will be crucial to design future healthcare buildings and departments, to be pandemic resilient, sustainable and adaptable for different scales of usage.

Whether large or small, healthcare systems can implement resilience strategies to support and maintain operations during a pandemic. In addition to unit-level details, some basic principles must be considered, such as versatility, surge readiness, supporting well-being, hygiene, isolation, patient visibility and safe circulation of patient movement, to name a few. Many healthcare facilities had to quickly implement and streamline technology, enabling providers to communicate with patients remotely, i.e., telehealth or telemedicine, and a resilient layout should also consider the impact of this trend. Therefore, ‘resiliency’ is a keyword with the ability for healthcare facilities to adapt their design and functionality to respond to changing situations.

Building more flexible hospitals has accelerated as a new trend in American healthcare. Patient rooms in emergency departments use glass doors to increase visibility and decrease the contacts and negative-pressure ventilation to fully isolate infectious patients, for example. The challenge, however, is to be able to cater to all possible scenarios because the next pandemic may very well be different from what we have recently experienced. . .

Read the full story in MHI Solutions magazine.