Human factors are a serious reason to approach building design from several different angles. Understanding regulatory requirements will help the planning team meet the different codes required to build or remodel. Color selection and noise control affect the environment for both patients and employees so this must be selected carefully to impact the health and wellness of those who are interacting in the health care space. Purchasing the correct the equipment for the space and the employees to use on a daily basis is imperative to the budget of the facility planning process. Identifying the stakeholders and how to effectively plan the development of the project so the stakeholders are involved and invested provides a stable foundation to plan from. Regulatory Requirements
Building a hospital takes funding, time, patience, and understanding of the regulatory requirements by many different federal and state agencies. Guidelines and building codes have been created to ensure that the space to be built out or remodeled has the appropriate safety, fire protection and health protection. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has regulatory requirements to ensure that buildings provide safe access for disabled employees and patients. The Federal Drug Administration has regulations that touch the food and drug portions of the facility planning. Also the state that the building is in will have regulations and building codes that must be followed along the building process. Some of the items that will be addressed during planning and building are air quality, solid and hazardous waste, radiation controls, public and environmental health, and water safety. Color Selection and Noise
Color choice when planning new construction or a remodel is important to create a calming and healing environment. When choosing color there are several factors that must be taken into consideration such as the age of the patient, ethnicity, satisfaction, health care outcome, and the staff’s reaction are all things to consider. The Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG), a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences states, “Healthcare facilities are designed not only to support and facilitate state-of-the-art medicine and technology, patient safety, and quality patient care, but to also embrace the patient, family, and caregivers in a psycho-socially supportive therapeutic environment (National Institute of Building Sciences 2014, p. 1).” Warm colors invoke a warm and comforting environment where cool colors create a quiet and relaxed feeling.
Noise in the health care environment is counterproductive to creating a relaxed environment. Excess noise and loud sounds creates anxiety in patients and contributes to a lack of sleep however, health care environments create noise. Nurses’ stations, imaging rooms, hallways, and waiting rooms are a great cause of excess noise for patients who are trying to rest and recover. Hospitals are not a very good place to rest in if you are looking for a quiet environment. Placing noise control high on the list during facility planning should help bring the attention it needs to decrease volume levels. Equipment needs
Health care environments have not been designed around the equipment needed to perform the duties of taking care of patients. As technology increases in the health care environment more equipment is squeezed into spaces it does not fit into or was not designed to fit into. Too often planning for equipment is pushed off to the later stages of facility planning and this creates deficiencies in space that is necessary for storage of equipment.
Planning the type of equipment that is need requires knowledge of the types of equipment for different areas of the health care facility. The physical environment of the space the caregivers are in directly impacts their ability to do the job the patient needs. The direct environment directly impacts the errors made in health care. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states when “conditions causing human error are minimized or eliminated in a context such as hospitals, the result should be less human error, leading to fewer adverse events and preventable medical deaths, improved patient outcomes, and improved safety (“Safe design of healthcare facilities,” 2006, para. 3).” Electronic Items
Health care facility planning must encompass the types of electronic items that will be used and how to support those electronic items. Electricity is the primary concern with electronics devices and equipment. The planning stage must include the amount of computers, phones, electrical outlets, medical equipment, imaging equipment, surgical equipment, and office equipment that will need to be used on a daily basis. Another aspect to identifying the electronics needed is knowing what equipment the health care facility already has and is using that can be reused and what new equipment must be purchased. Advancements in technology may be the driving reason that new equipment is needed or simply just the age and pervious usage of the existing equipment. Understanding the current equipment and the future needs of the facility will help control budget costs. Budget Planning
Cost Management is used to outline the costs of planning a project. Estimating costs through data collection, design planning, and budgeting are used throughout facility planning to reduce costs and to simplify the project. Controlling the planning budget before, during, and after the project will help with the current project and for future planning of other projects. The WBDG states, “A project must start right in order for it to finish right, so the establishment of an appropriate budget is critical” (National Institute of Building Sciences, 2011, p. 1). Stakeholders
Stakeholders are vital sources of information when starting to plan a new facility or starting a remodeling project. The patients that are served by the health care organization are an incredible resource of ideas and changes that can be implemented to help in the facility planning. Focus groups are a good way to gather people from the community to see how they feel about the current state of the organization and how they would like to access the health care organization in the future. Involving the local community and government of the future building site in the planning is essential to stay in compliance with local, state, and federal building requirements.
The employees of the new building site are valuable stakeholders when planning new or remodeling construction. Employees must work daily in the environment and use the equipment in the work environment therefore they are the best resource to tap into to understand how they will work in the new space. Facility planners need to listen to the needs and wants of the employees and find the best way to accommodate what the organization can afford into the work environment of the people involved in the daily work flow. Gantt Chart
Gantt charts are a bar chart used by project managers as an organizational resource to help define the different stages of the facility planning process. Gantt charts can also be utilized as time management tools and project analysis tools in addition to facility planning. Ganttchart.com states, “A Gantt chart lays out the order in which the tasks need to be carried out (“Gantt Charts,” n.d., p. 1).” The first step is to understand the breakdown of the work that is needing to be accomplished. A Gantt chart should be used as a tool to help reach the ultimate goal of planning the project. The second step is to gather the data that will be used to help create the Gantt chart. This data will be what is used to build the chart by the project manager. Thirdly, understanding and building the timelines that will be followed helps the project manager determine how long certain sections of the project will take. Creating the bars on the Gantt chart lays out the deadlines for the time needed to complete the various stages of the project. Conclusion
Beginning the journey of facility planning for a new build or a remodel project takes intense thought and planning to achieve the product that is desired in the end. Understanding how the space will create the tone for the patient’s visit or stay in the facility is vital to the patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction as well. Equipment is a large planning project to begin early so that the needs are understood prior to building a space. Proper planning and project management are essential to the outcome of the future health care facility.
ABOUT GANTT CHARTS. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ganttchart.com/index.html Safe design of healthcare facilities. (2006). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2464867/ Therapeutic Environments. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.wbdg.org/resources/therapeutic.php Utilize Cost Management Throughout the Planning, Design, and Development Process. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.wbdg.org/design/utilize_management.php