A Collaborative Research + Design Project Including Students From:
Clemson University + Carleton University
This project involves the detailed design and prototyping of elements on the headwall and footwall to be employed in either acute care patient rooms or acuity adaptable/universal patient room designs. It represents a new cycle of an iterative design-fabrication-research process involving a collaborative team of healthcare architects, industrial designers, an interior designer, students, healthcare equipment companies and their personnel, healthcare providers, along with periodic consultants and experts in several other disciplines. It involved professionals in each primary discipline working as and with faculty and students at two Universities in two Countries and served as both a design research and teaching/learning experience. This submission builds on a series of earlier design concepts, prototypes, testing and evaluation cycles including formal research studies involving simulation and informal observational and feedback from clinicians on elements employed in an actual healthcare facility. Four separate cycles of research/design/fabrication/evaluation culminating in prototypes built in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009 led to the results of the prototype design features included in this 2012 submission.
This proposal also benefits from lessons learned from work by others at the primary submitting institution on a concept room for the year 2020, which also built on the earlier work mentioned above. However, instead of envisioning what might be possible in 10 or more years, this submission was charged with exploring what might be possible and feasible today, or tomorrow, in terms of clinical practices, regulation, affordable technologies and market ready products in an era of increasingly constrained resources in healthcare. It looks at a two to five year window of application. The features included in the proposal are being explored to bring to market with collaborating partners who are recognized leaders in the healthcare furnishings and equipment market.
The underlying charges of the proposal have not changed dramatically over each iteration, but have been reframed as the healthcare context has changed and new information was learned in each cycle of research, design, fabrication, evaluation and redesign. The underlying premise is to optimize health, comfort and control for patients, staff and families by:
• Providing a setting that is safe, therapeutic, green and sustainable
• Providing a setting that supports positive patient/family/staff centered experiences
• Enabling efficient and effective clinical care and health outcomes
• Providing an adaptable setting that accommodates changing needs over time
The proposed headwall and footwall elements were each envisioned as a plug and play kit of parts that could be adapted or interchanged over the life of the room, or used in various ways over the life of a patient stay. The intent was to design features that would allow adaptation and design variation for both function and appearance in each application initially and over time.
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