Healthcare infrastructure planning; Ar. M. Kaushal

Healthcare infrastructure planning; Ar. M. Kaushal

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Hospital planning requires a balance between soft and hard landscapes to match the stress reducing requirements of the typology. Nature always act as a catalyst for the process of stress reduction in panic environments

The design configuration initiates from a service profile, which is required to freeze the facility module.  The basic list of facilities should be defined to contain all permissible medical and non-medical departments.  This may require the involvement of a doctor/medical expert and a bio-medical engineer for a clear ‘go’ to the entire scheme, complimenting aspects of cost implication. The said exercise governs the final conclusion for the number of beds and highlights the technical nomenclature for the desired hospital – for example: 100 bed hospital, 250 bed hospital and more, which reflects the circulation of census and non-census beds.  The selection of department should happen at the initial level so as to add the adjective to the hospital and in parallel number of departments should be finalised to capture the basic idea for the design.

A detail study of interrelationship of all facilities is required to conceptualise the content into a basic diagram model. The segregation of departments is required to finalise the circulation cores- in relation with the other departments. Internal and external flow of doctors, patients, visitors, staff should be touched at this stage to inculcate the logic into the basic design.

The concept gives support to render the outline and develop the layout in a zoned manner. After finalising the basic concept, the spaces should be enquired at human scale.  The location of critical areas is defined to suit the major design requirement. Critical areas such as emergency should be rightly placed and further it regulates its essential role in the entire design development. Out-patient department is usually located to keep concerns for less intersection of visitor and patient movements – this location determines the human traffic movement in and around the building.  In-patient department is generally designed and located to govern the visitors’ flow, especially at visiting hours.  Diagnose areas are placed at a minimum approach distance because of its repetitive use.

The entire concept is merged with an appropriate grid and scale which complements the site. Grid should be decided to suit the alignment and orientation, chosen in a manner wherein it shows the maximum flexibility to the end use. Hospital planning requires a balance between soft and hard landscapes to match the stress reducing requirements of the typology. Nature always act as a catalyst for the process of stress reduction in panic environments. According to the movement and the load calculation, circulation cores are inserted. All should be planned keeping in mind the segregation of movement for doctors, staff, patients, relatives, etc.  The movement configuration should be dealt with utmost precision so as to benefit the end user.

The approval stage is mandatory aspect of the Hospital infrastructure planning. Other than all regular approvals, hospital buildings may require a round through BARC and AERB, which are unit dependent approvals.  Pre-commissioning statutory approvals are majorly required for engineering services to support the actual running.

Facility locations – generally the out-patient department is located at the ground floor.  At times, this ground floor is also utilised by diagnose services to give preferences to repetitive patient requirements. The main aspect of allocating facilities is to reduce the travel distance of patients.  Critical patient care is then usually placed on the above floors and in-patient areas are planned on the upper floors.  Basements are utilised for parking or to accommodate the diagnose department, service and maintenance areas.  All medical staff areas, stores, linen should be planned in the basements to maintain the havoc free ambience for patients and doctors on upper floors.

Open spaces ae inserted to pay its kind.  Building blocks can be designed in a manner to avoid any conflict of sight between visitors, doctors and patients. The visitors are usually kept away from the patient’s routes to maintain less visual disturbances.  Similarly, doctors are routed through the shortest route to the patients’ active zones. The entire planning should cater to the essential requirement of sterility and germ-free environment within the premises.  The designing needs to be very strict on issues pertaining to safety and sterility and to maintain high standards of hygiene.

Equipment planning is tedious of all the jobs – it requires the observation and suggestions of multiple parties including users, bio-medical engineers, vendors, site engineers, which in parallel is merged with the architects plan to suite and fit the owner’s requirement.  This becomes the integral part of construction and commissioning process.  Medical equipment, such as CT and scanners usually cover a fat expenditure and are non-flexible.

The commissioning of a hospital requires extensive staff co-ordination which is planned at the basic level of capacity/facility finalisation. The hospital infrastructure industry is growing at a rapid pace to match the never-ending shortage of medical services for our massive population.  More and more private organisations are eager to dive in the healthcare sector. In near future, we may hold the key to provide the best medical services to the world (under cost constrain).  Also, the medical tourism is expected to rise with a smarter percentage because of the increasing number of upcoming medical facilities.