Buffer spaces in healthcare facilities: strategies for managing and designing strategic areas
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Design & Health Lab, Politecnico di Milano Italy
Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Italy
Columbia University United States
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A481
The recent covid-19 experience highlighted the difficulty of healthcare facilities in responding promptly to emergencies. hospitals had to reorganize their spaces, suspending the ordinary medical activities for ensuring the emergency management of the patients’ surplus. A working group of the postgraduate training course in healthcare management by altems school in rome conducted a survey on the buffer space (bs), which could support, in case of emergency, the hospitals.

The team elaborated a double questionnaire to be administered respectively to healthcare staff and designers with a series of questions aimed at understanding the features of bss. the questions were divided into general information, activities carried out during the pandemic and specific questions on the features of bss. many questions were the same for the two types of participants, while some differed in relation to the respective organizational and design skills of the users.

102 healthcare professionals and 56 designers took part to the survey. the data analysis permitted to highlight a series of specific inputs that the bs project should take in consideration, such as: a) proximity to the emergency department (ed), intensive care (icu) and inpatient wards (iws); b) location within the hospital but separate from other medical areas; c) independent access; d) organizational and spatial features similar to ed, icu and iws; e) configuration of an operational space ready for whatever type of need; f) the bs should host approximately 12% of the ed stations (40 sqm/per station).

The research aims to become a starting milestone for future investigations: in fact it is necessary to carry out a widespread analysis at the international level. Although the research was focused in hospital settings, the covid-19 pandemic referred also to the territorial healthcare facilities and therefore some considerations on that issue need to be improved.

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