Urgent care facility: Reception overlooks patient rooms at St George’s Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre. *Photo supplied
Urgent care facility: Reception overlooks patient rooms at St George’s Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre. *Photo supplied
There’s a lot of buzz around Bermuda on healthy living and well-being.

Many of us have now realized that the first of the baby boomer generation has turned 60, the second is now turning 50. Is 50 the new 40? Is 60 the new 50? Probably.

With medical and health care today we are all living longer and healthier.

Our awareness of increasing illnesses has changed our thinking on our own mortality and the expectations of current and future baby boomers of healthcare will be vastly different than those of our parents.

Yet one thing is certain — healthcare will continue to be a growing market for years to come.

Bermuda has made strides with developing the Lamb Foggo urgent care facility in St George’s and with the new KEMH hospital building just breaking ground.

It’s an exciting time to be designing for healthcare, as well as for elder care. 

Many new trends are emerging and as an interior designer, I find it very rewarding to see so many tremendous advances in these areas.

Good design can affect outcomes related to privacy, noise, access to nature, lighting and ventilation, way finding, and staff stress. For example, patients will typically heal faster when they have a beautiful view and a quiet place to rest.

They may even require reduced pain medication. Patient falls can be reduced by improved lighting and room layout. Staff is less stressed if they are working in an efficient, functional, and appealing space. These factors create an opportunity for healthcare design specialists to make an impact.

Knowledgeable architects, interior designers, and engineers can help a facility use design as a key component in care excellence for the patient or resident.

By incorporating flexibility into a design, the hospital or care facility can be more enjoyable for both patient and care giver and benefit everyone.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the emergence of what we call ‘retail’ medicine.

As much as 75 per cent of surgery is now performed on an out-patient basis.

The convenience factor of having medical services available close to home is becoming more and more important, as well as expected, according to Mary Bamborough, director of interior design at GMB Architects-Engineers in Holland, Michigan (see http://www.gmb.com).

Trends in healthcare design start with the private universal patient room.

Designing a patient room using a standardized approach that makes each room identical has several advantages.

Patients can stay in one location for their entire hospital stay.

These rooms adapt to a patient’s changing care requirements.

When each room is set up the same, it reduces errors, because equipment is in the same location in each room.

Patient transfers are also lowered, since different levels of care can be addressed, and situations as common as not getting along with a roommate are no longer an issue.

These can all add up to financial savings for a hospital.  Sustainability is also becoming an important consideration when designing a healthcare facility.

Resource consumption can jeopardize the future of our earth.

When selecting and specifying materials, designers may consider using materials with a higher amount of recycled content, reducing the quantity of indoor air contaminants often referred to as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and using rapidly renewable materials.

We all need to be good stewards of this earth, and living on a small island, we all know the benefits of doing so.

Working together to eliminate negative environmental effects from our buildings is extremely important and a hot topic in the design field, from engineering to architecture to interior design.

Furniture dealers such as Steelcase and DIRTT have typically only provided corporate furniture in the past, but have made strides in healthcare product development.

Providing furniture, millwork, wall systems and finishes to support healthcare designers benefits the market in the following ways:

  • Flexibility & modularity at nurse’s stations and patient rooms.
  • Infection control
  • Family-friendly spaces — keeping the partners in care effective in the facility environment.
  • Human-centred features — patient control, ability to function, and maintaining their comfort and dignity.
  • Patient mobility — conducive to safe and effective movement, physical activity, and mental exercise without assistance
  • Staff safety and health — conducive to patient handling without injury and work process ergonomics
  • In-between spaces — for visual adjustments and rest

Focusing on creating healthcare environments that support the healing process is key.

Designing facilities for the sick and elderly by enhancing convenience and efficiencies with advanced forward-thinking design affects not only the bottom line, but also patient satisfaction, in a positive way.

More in-depth information is available at www.healthdesign.org.