Evidence-Based, Staff-Centered Design

The recently published “Design Characteristics of Healthcare Environments: the Nurses’ Perspective” (World Health Design, January 2014) by Rana Sagha Zadeh, Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, Laurie Waggener and Laura Kennedy, sought to identify the most important characteristics of a work environment  that fully support nurse health and performance, as expressed by nursing staff. Among key issues were adequate workspace, appropriate lighting and better furniture and ergonomics.

Prior to designing the new emergency department at Ocean Medical Center in New Jersey, WHR conducted a survey to identify ways of improving access to medical equipment and supplies and explore opportunities for efficiency in ED design.

Previous studies in healthcare settings indicated that time wasted by caregivers searching and hunting for equipment or excessive walking and hindered access to the appropriate medical equipment and supplies can create interruptions and limit productivity and performance quality — all factors critical to ensuring patient safety. 

The research team also investigated how best to provide safety and efficiency for patients and providers dealing with behavioral health issues in the Ocean Medical Center ED. The study was designed with clear protocols to compare behavioral health agitation and aggression and the nurses’ perception of safety, both before the move to the new ED and post-occupancy. 

The new design addressed specific concerns and a post-occupancy health facility evaluation will help to determine the level of satisfaction of frontline workers in the new ED.

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Posted June 10, 2014

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