In the first post I wrote for the IC-HU Project I was wondering if any architect or person responsible for the ICU design project had asked your needs before making a hospital project.

As I mentioned above, the interior designers and architects before beginning to develop a project we talk with the customer and we ask him a lot of questions. This information is essential so that we can design a project suited to their needs.

As well, today I want to go one step further and ask the professionals that work daily in the ICU which are your needs, complaints, suggestions and how design professionals can improve your daily work, improving the enviroment and the stay of the patient as well as their relatives.

I have prepared a questionnaire to be able to start preparing a needs plan. I attended a great professional known to all of you and I asked his opinions to Dr. Vicente Gómez-Tello.

What are the needs for ICU professionals to develop well your work? Do you need to start a new distribution by removing boxes and considering individual rooms?

Rooms should be individual, 20 m2, to accommodate the installation of suspended equipment to access the patient from the header without problems and enable an armchair for him and a family member. The front wall to the control should be glazed, with automatic doors with opening by electric cell. Ideally the walls between boxes could be glazed with some system to ensure privacy.

On the outside, large windows with automatic stores, or systems with panels of polarized light, to filter the light.

A hall perimeter to ensure the family circuit out of control spaces, and that let the light to pass (walls of glass on both sides).

Architectural design should avoid dead angles, except that it provided an effective TV closed circuit.

The room inside with a basin for staff, which could also be used by family members, would be required.

What are the needs for ICU patients to have a more comfortable stay?

We should give patients all those distractions and amenities that, reasonably, they have to enjoy at home. Internet, phone, TV, press, radio, chairs and some control over light and position in bed. A “family” space in the wall to place photos or calendars, which could serve as orientation, is essential. 

Very important, we should think about the possibility that certain patients could wandering through open spaces enabled to facilitate their recovery.

In addition, a bath for patients who may have an extreme phobia to do their needs in bed would not be a far-fetched idea.

What are the needs for families?

First of all, one/two waiting rooms comfortable and spacious, with natural light and with the largest number of seats possible (depending on the size of the ICU). It would provide a service of external public address system to call. It would enable them television, music, and beverage and food vending machines.

For families and professionals, we need appropriate information spaces. Ideally a minimum of 10 m2 offices near the waiting room.

In the rooms, there would be at least one armchair for a family member.

In our design studio, we believe that it is very important to create a space in which the patient feel at home, as you said before, in a “family” space because it would affect the speedy recovery of the patient. We believe that it is feasible and it would not be a huge economic cost, elements such as decorative lamps may be used to add a cozy element, use touches of colors that convey energy and positivity, there are many possibilities. What is your opinion about an aesthetic change?

It seems a good idea. As changes are made in painting walls and uniforms of professionals, in Neonatal and Pediatrics ICU, the adult ICU should consider more the aesthetics of walls and doors, without affecting its potential cleaning. An appropriate combination of relaxing colours and graphic elements add a plus of comfort. On lamps, or other elements, its more convenient location should seek not to impede the placement of medical material. In any case, they should be portable.

On light, as I said, we should regulate it by means of controls which could trigger the patient and us, the blinds (or similar) of windows, ceiling light intensity and the temperature of the box.

In addition to the aesthetic change, do you think that it is necessary to introduce more elements that may help the tranquility and relaxation of the patient as piped music or being able to adjust the intensity of light so that patients could also have this awareness of day and night?

Obviously. A resounding Yes.

First of all we should provide a wifi network that allowed the connection of mobile devices for the distraction of the patient. With minimum standards, these devices can be used without problems. Alternatively, the delivery of press and radio with headphones is recommended. 

Secondly, a television in each box. It could distract conscious patients. Ideally DVD if they want to bring in family photos or video messages, or the patient cannot sustain a mobile device. 

Thirdly, piped music. Recent studies indicate that the right environmental music promotes relaxation.

Finally, a panel to set the pictures or messages on the role of the family, or a calendar to aid in orientation.

A controversial subject is a watch. They could be mobile, since some patients do not tolerate to see the passage of time if they are aware and are not comfortable.

After this questionnaire I can only thank Dr.gomez-Tello his collaboration. Without a doubt, his answers are helpful, for me it was a pleasure to conduct this interview.

And lastly I would like to ask: do you have any suggestions?
Tell us about them!

Best regards!