ICU Design Considerations

In an Intensive Care Unit it is not uncommon to have a nurse to patient ratio of 1:2. Because patients are in critical care more attention is needed to help support them and keep them stable. In the 19 case studies of ICU's, all but nine units had a nurse support station right outside the patient's room, though all units had nurse visibility into the rooms.

Family Space
This becomes an important issue for patients in critical care. Because the life expectancy can be shorter than normal, it is very important that patients should be able to spend time with their family and friends. 13 of the 19 ICUs provide public areas for family, but most are pushed off to the side or at the end of the hall. Only the Kaiser Permenante 1 allows multiple public areas among the patient rooms themselves. Though many ICUs provide enough space within the patient rooms for family and friends, some patients love getting out of their rooms when possible, if possible.

Patient Room Issues
  • Average size of a patient room is 259 square feet.
  • Most patient rooms in most units are private rooms.
  • Most patient rooms have free standing beds with support services provided by power columns.
  • Most patient rooms have natural light and outdoor views.
  • Most patient rooms have handwashing sinks, and majority of them are located at the near-end of the side wall.
  • Most patient rooms have glass breakaway doors to increase patient visibility and to facilitate patient transfer.
  • Most units have charting near the patient's room.

    ICU Design Considerations - Health Architecture
    ICU Design Considerations - Health Architecture

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