The design of an operating theatre within a day hospital has significantly different requirements to other rooms within the building.
Size, orientation, layout and connection to supporting spaces are all essential design elements, along with the consideration of staff workflow and patient movements throughout their stay. If all of these fundamentals aren’t spot-on, the flow of the whole hospital will be impacted.
Let’s take a look at three key focus areas to take into account when building or refurbishing an operating theatre.
Simply making an operating theatre as big as possible doesn’t mean you’ll achieve optimal workflow efficiencies. Extra space can cause unnecessary effort and time in terms of staff movements – which can easily build up over a full day of operations or procedures. Surplus space can also attract more clutter and storage of non-essential items.
The position of the operating table can also improve surgical workflow, with an off-centre, angled orientation providing greater space for staff circulation and improved access to the patient for surgical staff and the anesthetist.
Operating rooms can often end up feeling cluttered due to the large amount of equipment, instruments and other essential items required. A crowded theatre not only creates movement hazards for staff, but it can also create the potential for distraction.
Accommodating the necessary equipment, while maintaining adequate space for staff, is key to an efficiently run operating theatre. Recessed storage, mobile workstations, and overhead booms that facilitate cable and tube management also help. Alcoves – either within the operating theatre itself or immediately adjacent – are a great way to provide additional storage for larger items.
Optimising patient flow through the pre-op and post-op zones is possibly the most important workflow in a day hospital. Ensuring the process is streamlined helps to maximize the number of procedures or operations that can be performed on a daily or weekly time frame.
Prep and recovery areas should be positioned with direct access to the operating theatre - and depending on the procedure being conducted, these areas could even be combined. Another option to streamline patient flow is to fit the theatre with two doors on opposite sides of the room. This allows the outgoing patient to exit via one door, and the incoming patient to enter via the other door.
At Premis, we understand the complex nature of working within the live environment of a day hospital.