Across the country, we are seeing numerous changes at healthcare facilities as they reopen for elective and non-critical care while still addressing potential surge capacity issues related to COVID-19. One of the biggest difficulties is getting into and through these facilities while practicing social distancing and minimizing risk to patients and staff.
MP’s John Fowler, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP, is featured in Healthcare Design – Healthcare facilities are employing a variety of strategies and tactics, including technology, to overcome the challenges of reopening amid COVID-19. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3iZms9r
Bob Humenn, Director of Healthcare Strategy at Margulies Perruzzi, has spent more time at hospitals over the past few weeks than he’s spent at home. He is helping them increase the number of beds, create “pop-up” clinics, and set up testing sites. According to Bob, “it is humbling to see the dedication of healthcare workers putting their health and lives at risk every day. While you’re there, it makes you wish that you could do more.”
According to Bob, the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been very accommodating, issuing blanket waivers to allow hospitals to create testing sites and pop-up clinics in non-clinical areas and to add beds in alternative locations such as recovery areas instead of private rooms. Bob has worked with Milford Regional Medical Center for twenty years and is one of the hospitals that Bob has assisted in addressing COVID-19 through the following strategic initiatives.
Emergency Department Patients To handle an influx in emergency department patients with COVID-19 symptoms, Margulies Perruzzi worked with Hospital staff to create an Alternate Treatment Area (ATA) in the parking area directly below the Emergency Department (ED). Walk-in ED patients will be triaged at the entry vestibule for Covid-19 symptoms and if appropriate, they will be sent down to the ATA for testing and treatment. The ATA has twenty bays for treatment and space for portable x-ray. The goal is rapid assessment, testing, and discharge within an hour of arrival. Margulies Perruzzi provided guidance on patient flow, regulatory guidelines and design and the ATA was constructed by Consigli Construction using a modular wall system. Cubicle curtains are free-standing and created from electrical conduit for the frame and curtain.
Inpatient Beds Guided by the directives issued by The Department of Public Health and CMS, Margulies Perruzzi worked with Milford Regional to develop a strategic plan for the anticipated surge of hospital patients. COVID-19 patients will be grouped in existing medical/surgical, progressive care and intensive care nursing units. If needed, non-COVID-19 ICU patients will be cared for in the PACU, using two bays to provide needed clearance between patients, while other non-COVID-19 patients will be cared for in alternate areas such as Infusion and Endoscopy.
Patients Requiring Post-Acute Rehabilitation There may be patients that are recovering from COVID-19 and would normally be discharged to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). If the SNF is not able to admit a COVID-19 patient, MRMC is prepared to rehabilitate these patients. The Hospitalists, Nursing and Rehabilitation Services collaborated to develop a plan to manage patients requiring physical, occupational and speech therapies in order to maximize the patient’s abilities to move from hospital to home. Margulies Perruzzi worked with MRMC staff to develop options for temporary transitional care units for these patients. The main goal will be ensuring the patients continue to regain their strength in order to return to their baseline before discharge home.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the design of health care facilities. The dynamic nature of the pandemic has required our teams to be flexible and highly creative in addressing the needs of our clients in support of those healthcare providers on the front lines. As we ride the flattened curve of infection our focus is shifting to the safe re-activation of the healthcare system to begin seeing non-emergency cases, primary care visits and elective procedures to a broad range of healthcare facilities that until recently have been prepared for COVID-19 patient over flow. Margulies Perruzzi is working to develop strategies utilizing infection control measures and design flexibility to address the complexities of reactivating the hospital in the coming weeks and to better position our community for future pandemics .
More information and articles published from the MP Healthcare studio posted regularly.
Additionally, The AIA COVID-19 Task Force (including MP’s John Fowler) has published tools to assess and catalog the adaptive reuse of buildings as Alternative Care Sites. We are extremely grateful for all of the hard work and sacrifice healthcare professionals are putting in on the front lines of this pandemic and are looking for more ways to support them whenever we can.
MP recently published a report with survey results, “COVID-19 AND THE FUTURE OF THE WORKPLACE WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?” Download by clicking here.