GS&P to Participate in Healthcare Research Project “Optimizing Toilet Location for Assisted Toileting”

Grants Awarded to AIA Tampa Bay –Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) to Fund Research on Hospital Toilet Room Design

Tampa, Fla. — Gresham, Smith and Partners, a leading multi-disciplinary design and consulting firm for the built environment, is pleased to announce that the firm will take part in a healthcare research project regarding “Optimizing Toilet Location for Assisted Toileting.”  This project will analyze various toilet and grab bar configurations to identify what is most suitable for patients who require toileting assistance in the hospital setting. The research project is made possible through a $15,000 grant from the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation (AAHF) awarded to the AIA Tampa Bay -AAH , along with additional funding from the Rothschild Foundation and “in-kind” contributions from AIA AAH-Tampa Bay committee members.

Currently the Americans with Disabilities Act  Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) are required in only 10% of new hospital patient rooms. The guidelines were not written specifically for acutely ill hospital patients that may need assistance with toileting. Therefore, following the guidelines may not necessarily produce the best outcomes. Dr. Sheila Bosch, director of healthcare research at GS&P and Dr. Jon A. Sanford, director of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, will be the Principal and Co-Investigator respectively. Members of the local AIA Tampa Bay-Academy of Architecture for Health- Research Committee and local healthcare providers will also be key participants in the study.

“The AIA Tampa Bay – Academy of Architecture for Health – Research Committee is honored to be have been selected by their peers at the AAH Foundation to conduct this study,” Alan Prestigiacomo, AIA, EDAC, AIA Tampa Bay Board member and AAH Chair. “This is a great example of collaboration among architects, interior designers, healthcare providers and researchers to achieve a common goal. The AIA Tampa Bay – AAH Steering and Research Committees are well represented by many architects and other professionals with the goal to improve healthcare in the community and nationwide. We want to thank all of our AAH members, especially those individuals actively involved in this effort from some of the leading design firms in the area including GS&P, MLE and HDR Architecture.”

“There is little research currently available regarding the design of the patient bathroom and this research project seeks to move the industry closer to identifying research-based solutions,” Dina G. Battisto, M.Arch, Ph.D., AAHF Trustee.

The study will include benchmarking efforts of acute care environments constructed within the past five years to ascertain current practices. Working with AAH-Tampa Bay and GS&P, staff from Georgia Tech will lead efforts to design and build a test setting in which the research team can study a range of predicted care types.

“This issue is vital because it affects both patient safety and caregiver safety. Healthcare designers wrestle with how best to design bathrooms that meet ADAAG requirements while also addressing the needs of patients and their caregivers, because sometimes these goals conflict.” commented Sheila Bosch, Ph.D., EDAC, LEED AP, director of healthcare research, GS&P.  “I look forward to partnering with Georgia Tech and other architecture firms in the Tampa area to advance our understanding of how to design better, safer patient bathrooms.”

For additional insights into this issue, see Sheila’s recent blog post entitled “Tackling Toilet Issues: The ADAAG Toilet Room Dilemma” published on GS&P Dialogue. 

The AIA Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation improves the quality of healthcare through design by developing, documenting, and disseminating knowledge; educating healthcare architects and other related constituencies; advancing the practice of healthcare architecture; improving the design of healthcare environments; affiliating and advocating with others that share our vision and promoting research.

About Gresham, Smith and Partners

Gresham, Smith and Partners provides design and consulting solutions for the built environment that contribute to the success of national and international clients.  For more than 40 years, GS&P has focused on enhancing quality of life and sustainability within communities.  GS&P consists of industry-leading professionals practicing architecture and engineering design as well as scientists and highly specialized planning and strategic consultants in Aviation, Corporate and Urban Design, Environmental Compliance, Healthcare, Industrial, Land Planning, Transportation and Water Services.  GS&P consistently ranks among the top architecture and engineering firms in the United States.  For more information regarding GS&P, visit


Posted March 16, 2011

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