In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the world of commercial design has significantly shifted. Establishments like hotels, restaurants, and offices have had to develop new design approaches based on protecting public health.

However, no facility will experience as much change as hospitals and health systems. 

So, as doctors, nurses, and hospital employees continue to tackle the public health crises, it’s essential to consider how the design team plays a role. The design and layout, after all, will influence how well front-line workers can efficiently—and safely—perform their jobs.

Here are some of the ways healthcare facility design will change due to COVID-19:

Less shared staff areas

From workstations to break rooms, shared employee spaces will need to be readjusted. Design features, including size and space for social distancing, are the top priorities. Depending on the type of healthcare facility, some employees might be moved to a different area or building. In this case, the new space will need to be redesigned to accommodate the employees’ needs.

More isolation rooms

Healthcare design will also prioritize the demand for isolation rooms and units. These rooms, which need to be pressurized, require a great deal of space. What’s more, hospital employees need a layout that makes it easy to remove protective personal equipment (PPE) without contaminating other areas.

Spacious public areas

Though many facilities have a “no waiting room” policy, the waiting rooms that do stay will be reimagined. Waiting rooms, as well as lobbies and eating areas, will be designed to allow for more social distancing between patrons. Areas where people commonly wait in lines will also be redesigned to allow for more physical space.

Designs and materials that are easy to sanitize

Sanitizing procedures in all public spaces will continue to be strict. But in healthcare settings, there will be an additional focus on design elements that are easy to clean. Facilities will also seek more sturdy, robust materials that can handle the constant cleaning and strong chemicals.

More supply facilities

In the beginning of the pandemic, many healthcare facilities experienced a shortage in supplies. To prevent similar issues in the future, hospitals will look to stockpile their own equipment. Depending on the type and size of facility, facilities might stock supplies on-site or in a separate off-site location.

As the global health crisis continues to unfold, design teams will play a vital role in the future of healthcare

Builders in the healthcare design industry must work closely with hospitals to ensure the safety of employees, patients, and their loved ones.