Hospitals are considered very stressful place and to be true people do not like visiting hospitals until it is unavoidable. Discomfort, pain, medicines and nauseating feelings are the age old synonymous for the term “Hospital”. Whenever hospitals are mentioned an unpleasant feeling grips our mind. Healthcare centers should respond to this by enhancing their healthcare milieu and creating a feel good environment for the customers during their stay. Few things that are mandatory in order to give a friendly environment to the patients whilst they stay include the following

Hospital environment

Facilities

Healthcare facilities range from a relatively simple medical clinic to a large complex and expensive medical techniques; from large general and specialist centers to small outpatient clinic. Every healthcare center should comprise of wide range of service and functional units like

  • Medical laboratories/diagnostic centers
  • Research and teaching facilities
  • Imaging rooms
  • Emergency rooms
  • Operation theaters
  • Blood banks
  • Sample collection services
  • Hospitality service rooms such as food and housekeeping services
  • In-patient wards and beds
  • Out-patient related services
  • Ambulance services
  • Administrative functions
  • Mortuary
  • Maintaining proper sanitation
  • Using proper disinfectant and sterilization techniques
  • Provisions for potable water
  • Infection control plans
  • Very importantly, as healthcare centers generate maximum amount of waste everyday it is mandatory to have a proper wastage disposal system

A healthcare center should have all the basic required facilities so that the patient need not go around in search of every single requirement. Apart from these, hospitals should also include advanced mechanical, electrical and telecommunication systems. The phrase “First impression is the best impression” suites healthcare centers also as there is never a second chance to make a good impression. Changes in physical environment should mainly focus on comfort, privacy, efficiency, personal attention, and a sense of serenity.

Size

Among the various priority settings in building a healthcare center, decisions on size and location of the healthcare center tops the list. The size of a hospital is not determined by the area it is spread on but size refers to the number of beds the hospitals have, to accommodate patients. A hospital can have anywhere from 10 to 20 beds in smaller organization to 1000 beds in large organizations. Long since there is a never-ending debate about the efficiency of the healthcare management in small and large hospitals. Initial research focusing on the relation between size and efficiency of a healthcare center were inconclusive but later in 2000 it was shown that the size of a hospital has possible effect on the economic gain of a healthcare center. Patients choose large size healthcare centers as they provide more services than hospitals with smaller size.

Location

Apart from considering the clinical and non-clinical experience while choosing a healthcare center, patients also consider the location of the hospital. Choosing a hospital that is far away might require transportation services. Along with the hospital expenses the patient should also bear the transportation expenses. Therefore patients consider location as an extremely important aspect while choosing a healthcare center. It should be easy for the patient to get to the hospital for normal routine check-ups and also for emergency services. It should also be easy for the family members to visit the patient often. Despite being in a perfect accessible location, the management should also take care that the hospital environment is serene and calm, little away from the demanding traffic and pollution.

Parking lot

Hospitals are the most complex type of building that requires a perfect planning. Every day thousands of people might visit a hospital and the number of automobiles is also increasing exponentially. It is the duty of the healthcare center to provide parking facility. Designing a parking lot that occupies maximum vehicles and house them in close proximity is a great challenge for the designers.

The design of a parking lot in a hospital requires an integrated effort of professionals belonging to automobile, engineering and traffic control departments to create an appropriate design. Many healthcare organizations consider the space allotted for parking is waste and allot only minimum space without considering the convenience of the customers. Parking lots should not be far from the main block of the hospital, if its far then the hospital management should provide transportation inside the hospital campus for the patients. While designing a parking lot in a healthcare center few basic criteria that should be followed are

  • The height, size, turning radius of automobiles (current, past and future vehicles) should be considered
  • The flow of traffic in the entry and exit should be considered
  • The length of opening and placement of the entry booths as well as the quantity of entrance and exit should be well planned
  • Appropriate work place for staffs
  • The design should facilitate further expansion and up-gradation
  • Proper ventilation
  • Drain and floor slope is important as water can stagnate and create long-term maintenance problem
  • Back-up power system
  • Safety and security should be the first priority of the plan
  • Clear, simple, direct sign messages should be placed where drivers can read in a timely fashion

Decors

People who are sick need to get a good cheerful atmosphere; they should not feel that they are trapped with their pain in a room. Locking up sick people in a boring white walled room will make them even sicker and remind them every second about their sickness. The hospital management can take steps to make the stay more comfortable and cheerful. Carefully chosen decors, art-work, lightening, carpets and wall coverings that go well with a hospital environment must be placed in each room, corridors, reception, waiting halls, and also in testing rooms and laboratories to make people feel good and positive. It also helps to create a relaxing, supportive and inviting atmosphere.

As healthcare center may encounter patients of all ages and from various backgrounds with different ailments, opting for generalized decors that pleases everyone will be a better choice. Rather than the regular dingy white bed-spread the hospital management can use colorful bed-spreads and throw blankets to improve the look and also to create a positive cheerful atmosphere. Allowing patients to decorate their room with their paintings, family photo or other art-work that they love can also help to have a positive impact on their health condition and make them feel they are in the safest place with people around them to help them round the clock.

 

Furniture

The term hospital usually brings an unpleasant scene of blank walls, poor infrastructure and obviously not the place that people would like to visit. But with such advance in medical field and competitive market where customer experience is given major importance the healthcare managements are striving hard to provide world class services. And the basic among all other infrastructure is comfortable furniture. A fully furnished hospital with all required furniture facilitates relief and comfort to the patients.

The term “Hospital furniture” is an umbrella term that describes all type of furniture used to provide a feel of comfort to the ailing patients. Hospital furniture includes

  • Bed and accessories
  • Ward furniture
  • Operation table
  • Stools
  • Tables
  • Bed-side lockers
  • Racks
  • Instrument trolley
  • Wheel chair
  • Over-bed table
  • Foot step
  • Ward screen
  • Baby cradle
  • Bed-side wash basin stand
  • Saline stand
  • Waiting room furniture
  • Patient chair
  • Therapeutic seating
  • Children pediatric furniture
  • Stretcher
  • Office table, cupboards, book case
  • Laboratory furniture and many more

The rest room provided to family members of the patient should also be fully furnished in order make their stay comfortable. The furniture requirements for healthcare center vary in form, cost and function. Choosing appropriate furniture is another very important criterion. The furniture in healthcare organization should meet the requirement of today’s health care demands. It should cater the need of patients and visitors. Secondly, choosing the right type of furniture and selecting only the required furniture will allow planners to manage placing them neatly within the given space. Well placed chairs, tables and sofas gives the most versatile and personal touch and for sure is a welcome treat for patients and visitors. Neatly arranged furniture can give a feel of home and make the patient feel even more comfortable. Durable furniture helps to save hospital money by reducing wear and tear cost.

Furniture designed for healthcare centers are found to have characteristic use and purpose among other designing component. Designing furniture for healthcare need requires appreciating and understanding the demand in healthcare market.

Equipment planning

Though listed last, the very important and unavoidable thing required for a hospital, either small or large, to function and serve people is medical equipment planning. No other building type requires such complicated designing and planning. Planning should be a blend of traditional processes, unparallel vision and unique resources. Equipment planning services should provide

  • Full scientific objectivity
  • Complete project management skill
  • Equipment procurement and management support
  • Till date information and software

For outstanding equipment planning an excellent knowledge about all medical devices is required. The healthcare organization should also have enough data about emerging technologies, product specifications, clinical guidelines, user-experience, hazards, standards and regulations, in order to have a an edge of what is needed from both technological and clinical point of view.

Few types of equipment that a hospital should have are listed below

  • Anesthesia equipment/machine
  • Anesthesia vaporizer
  • Portable anesthesia machine
  • Angiograph apparatus and equipment
  • Face mask
  • Blood and vascular pressure measurement
  • Cardiovascular instrument
  • Autoclave
  • Centrifuge
  • Oxygen cylinder
  • Oxygen flow-meter
  • Oxygen humidifier
  • Artificial resuscitators
  • Curette
  • Dilator
  • Dissection apparatus
  • General surgical instruments
  • Electrosurgical apparatus
  • Electrosurgical generator
  • Suction apparatus
  • Inhaler
  • Plastic surgical instruments
  • Defibrillators
  • Respiratory care apparatus
  • Resuscitators
  • Vascular instruments
  • Surgical hook, punch, marker and loupes
  • Water bath
  • Vacuum extractor set and many more

 

 

The essential elements which needs to be ensure in an Hospital environment