Healthcare facility guide for architects and planners

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect when designing a healthcare facility – yet directly impacting quality of life – is providing sufficient space for people and equipment to move freely.

Whether it’s rolling hospital beds through corridors and turning them in and out of rooms, or it’s allowing people to move with the assistance of walkers or wheelchairs in a residential facility, proper space must exist. If not, the results include injuries to patients/residents and staff, lower efficiencies, higher costs, and an overall unpleasant living and working environment.

Existing design approaches and building standards don’t always put patients, resident’s mobility level, and caregivers at the centre of the design process. Surprisingly, many healthcare facilities are not thoroughly designed to allow both a patient, caregiver and mobility equipment to enter, move about and exit spaces such as bathrooms and examination rooms, or to safely negotiate turns and hallways while passing other people.

Arjo set out to solve this issue in the mid-1990s by co-creating a platform that provides the necessary resources to the planners and architects involved with the planning and construction of healthcare facilities. From speaking with leading architects, ergonomists and occupational health specialists from around the world, the Arjo Guide for Architects and Planners was born.

Originally a printed book, today the platform is digital and available online as a free, interactive resource with necessary tools and information for proper person-centred planning as a compliment to international and national building standards. This includes interactive space planning tools for specific patient- and care types, and a 3D object library that architects can import into their design software.

A new era of collaboration has begun between Arjo, architects and planners to address the needs of real-world healthcare environments and create mobility solutions for the ultimate end users: patient/residents and caregivers. By entering the conversation early in the design process and working together, Arjo is able to successfully raise the issues around actual space needs for the users of the facility and advocate on their behalf.

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