COVID-19 has led to unprecedented times and is challenging each of us to experience life like we never have before.
Especially during this time, we are acutely reminded of the compassion and selflessness of our caregivers, and we truly appreciate all they do for our communities. While these professionals continue to focus on what’s most important – the safety and the wellbeing of themselves and their patients – our Healthcare Practice is focusing on the environments that serve as a critical tool for these frontline employees every day.
We’ve spent the past few weeks listening intently to our clients and learning from their first-hand experiences. With these COVID-19 experiences and critical information continuing to evolve, it is difficult to predict the future design and planning of healthcare environments; however, we know change – to varying degrees – will be inevitable. With a multi-disciplinary team at our fingertips, we seized the opportunity to bring together a cohort of healthcare architects, planners, interior designers; designers, and architects from outside the Healthcare industry; and hospital-based design engineers to collaborate on how we can support our clients through creative planning and design solutions.
We looked at the impact this pandemic is having on the patient experience, the caregiver, and family members/loved ones. And, we viewed it through the lens of both the outpatient environment and the acute care world. Some of the key challenges that rose to the top that we feel we need to address from a design and planning standpoint include:
- The need to triage patients in different ways
- Facility access
- Patient, staff and visitor journey
- The need to lower stress for all individuals
- Protection of staff
- Additional respite areas needed
- How to limit random exposure is active facilities
- HVAC strategies for dealing with aerosolized disease
- Material and finish selections that are easier to sanitize
- How family members can continue to participate in the healing process
At Little we always focus on impacting lives – the lives of individual patients, staff, and family. As we move through this COVID-19 crisis, we will continue to proactively learn and work closely with our clients in developing healing environments for what is now our new normal.