One of the great things about working at The Alfred ICU is the superbly designed physical space we work in. However, the real success of an ICU is not just whether it is a pleasant place to work within, but whether it helps patients heal.
The ‘new’ Intensive Care Unit at The Alfred was opened on 19th November 2008. The design addressed key issues including:
- tailoring the design to the workflow and unique case-mix of the ICU , which includes transplant patients (heart, lung and bone marrow transplants), patients requiring circulatory assist devices such as ECMO and VADs, trauma, burns, neurosurgical patients. The end result is 3 pods of 15 cubicles, one each for cardiac, trauma and general intensive care.
- provision of natural light to cubicles and circulation areas through the use of roof-lanterns.
- ensure patient well being and privacy. An example is the use of switchable glazing – glass that opacifies at the switch of a button – to reduce the need for curtains and associated infection risks, yet still prevent glare, maintain privacy and facilitate observation of the critically ill.
- ensuring air quality, by preventing recirculation within the unit and ensuring air from the environment is clean (e.g. prevent ingress of Aspergillus spores from the external environment). The unit has 100% outside air supply with energy recovery.
- resilience, reliability and maintenance access.
That’s enough reading – why not have a look for yourself!
References and Links
- AlfredICU.org.au — New ICU [accessed 22 August 2014 at URL: http://www.alfredicu.org.au/new-icu/]
- Healey G. ICU helps in building healing environment. Health Estate. 2012 Feb;66(2):21-6. PubMed PMID: 22536669. [pdf of full article]