Enhancing Safety Through Design

Zeeland Community Hospital Emergency Department

Zeeland Community Hospital Emergency Department

Kerrie Cardon, RN, AIA, ACHA, spoke at Intereum last week about Enhancing Safety Through Design in Healthcare environments.  She is a Registered Nurse and a Registered Architect recruited by Herman Miller to research healthcare environments and share her findings with Healthcare Providers, Designers, Planners and Architects.  She travels across the country delivering CEU’s.  Below are some takeaways from the Enhancing Safety Through Design CEU she delivered last week:

Zeeland Community Hospital Emergency Department

Zeeland Community Hospital Emergency Department

“The buildings that we are building and planning today really do impact safety” – Kerrie Cardon

Single Bed Rooms allow patient privacy, higher occupancy, fewer transfers, improved infection control and a family support zone.  This is good for the patient and their families, but it increases staff travel distances according to Kerrie.  Couple this with the fact that supplies are centralized and decentralized, our Nurses walk 1-5 miles per day/shift.  Kerrie job-shadows Nurses to observe behavior, and she notices that Nurses don’t get a change to rest as they are always on their feet.  Kerrie suggests having nursing needs located in or close to patient rooms to reduce foot travel. Example: Storing medications in locked drawers in patient rooms or mobile carts with locking drawers.  She also suggests that for standardization compliance, try to have everything at the Nurse’s fingertips so they don’t skip steps.  Example: Utilizing mobile carts and mobile workstations. 

Mobile Technology Carts

Mobile Technology Carts

The mobile workstation allows for fewer footsteps to be taken each shift.    Nurses can work anywhere.  The mobile workstation also allows for changes in technology.  “Flexible planning dictates multi-use space vs. single-use space” Kerrie reminds.  When designing workstations, keep in mind the use of adjustable-height worksurfaces to accommodate different-sized employees (this is especially relevant with the increased amount of men entering the nursing field). 

CoStruc System Caregiver Height Adj Alcove Application

CoStruc System Caregiver Height Adj Alcove Application

Simple things to keep in mind when designing:

  • Proper lighting is essential at the point of care – especially when 40% of Nurses are over the age of 50
  • Overhead storage can be dangerous – consider the use of mobile carts
  • 83% of Nurses work with back pain, and back injuries cost about $16B/year.  Providing lift equipment in as many places as possible allows quicker, easier access to maximize compliance.  This means allocating more space for equipment since lifts don’t have a small footprint.
  • Getting patients  to walk around is essential – they heal faster, but it increases the risk of injury.  Adding placed of rest throughout the corridor where patients can have a place to rest when walking around will increase their willingness to move about.

For more information about Kerrie, her information or to learn how you can attend a CEU next time she is in town, contact us betterwaystowork@intereum.com

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