UK College of Design Emergency Department Post Occupancy Evaluation

Narrator: A collaborative project by the UK
College of Design School of Interiors, GBBN architects, and UK HealthCare, examined just
how well the Emergency Department design is meeting the needs of patients, visitors and
staff. David Humlong: We do the best job we can in
solving the owner’s puzzle if you will, with the design process. But we don’t often
go away with an understanding of how that building actually works, how a design works. Allison Carll-White: We’re always trying
to make design better for our users, and that’s staff, visitors, patients. GBBN, having such
a strong focus in healthcare design, was very, very interested in knowing as a result of
their work that they did at UK what was working well, what may need to be rethought, not just
for this space but also for future design projects. Lindsey Fay: Having the opportunity to go
in and look at the Emergency Department to understand how well the design is working
really has an impact on what will happen on future floors of the UK hospital. Patty Howard: We typically see an average
of about 200 patients a day, that includes adults and children…. we’ve had as many
as about 110 patients at one time, the visitors that go with them, the staff, you are starting
ending up in the hundreds of people at once that space. So 40,000 square feet sounds like
a lot, but not when you think about 3 and 400 people at once, it’s not that much. Lindsey Fay: we were in the Emergency Department
for over 200 hours for the first phase. We worked in 5 teams of 2, undergraduate and
graduate researchers were involved in this process, and asking them week by week to carry
out different research studies. Narrator: This post-occupancy evaluation used
observation, surveys and focus groups to collect data, and revealed many positives of the Emergency
Department. The first, was Quality Staff. Allison Carll-White: something that UK should
be really proud of is the quality of their staff…patients and visitors overwhelmingly
said they were the #1 thing that they thought was best about the environment at the Emergency
Department. Narrator: Another plus, were “pods”–patient
rooms clustered around a central nurse’s station, so the staff didn’t have to travel
to check on their patients or to gather medications and supplies. Narrator: The most critically injured patients
get rapid care, thanks to a direct elevator from the helicopter pad to the trauma & imaging
unit, in the center of the emergency department. Narrator: The dedicated pediatric center was
a favorite of visitors and staff. Patty Howard: That’s probably one of the
best things we did was to have the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center. In the old
Emergency Department we had a small area that we called Kids Care where we saw children
but we had very few beds. So that was really a big plus for us to be able to have that
space, to have 12 dedicated beds. Allison Carll-White: in the waiting room GBBN
used a lot of positive distractions. So there was an there was, an interactive wall, there
was a computer station, there were some TVs, there were just things to help children who
were probably not feeling well or experiencing some kind of trauma to feel comfortable. Narrator: The study also revealed a few areas
that could use improvement. Lindsey Fay: There is a corridor that sits
behind the registration desk. We found through our discussions with the staff members that
this area was actually designed a little bit too small and it really doesn’t allow an
effective flow through that environment. Jim Harrell: One of the problems that the
staff that work there expressed is, when the patients are sent back to either to the adult
area, or the peds area, they can’t really see the doors that they go through and so
they’re not sure whether these people are going in the right direction. Lindsey Fay: Also in the triage area there
are patient rooms that have dual entry. However, there’s not a corridor that connects from
this entry point of the Emergency Department to the patient service area. David Humlong: I knew early on in construction
process that there was an issue that was created during design of eliminating some circulation
paths to cram in more treatment space. Lindsey Fay: We’re finding that people are
actually having to cut through these rooms. Narrator: Intake and triage were the focus
of a one-day charette, a design workshop held at GBBN, where the designers used the data
to rethink the spaces. Lindsey Fay: What we found is that having
the security situated right next to the entrance would give them sight lines to the doors leading
back to the Emergency Department, but then also providing an opportunity to greet patients
or families when they are walking in. One scenario also took triage and broke it up
into two different design areas with a central space moving from the entry point to the waiting
area of the Emergency Department. From the design charette we documented all these outcomes,
so we have all of that on paper now. Patty Howard: The fact that they were able
to publish their study is very beneficial for all of us… and anytime someone wants
to look at something you’re doing it’s going to help you. Because there’s going
to be things that you don’t know and then there’s going to be things you knew but
needed the data to prove. Jim Harrell: I have done over 40 Emergency
Departments in my career. We are working on four other EDs right now and some of the things
we’re talking about, you know we’re saying, down at UK we did this POE and this is what
we learned here and people perk up and say, well, tell me more about it, so there is an
immediate use. Lindsey Fay: So this was not only a really
great opportunity for the key collaborators on the project but also for our students here
at UK. Sabrina Mason: I really liked the immersive
quality of the post-occupancy. The biggest thing I feel like I learned was how to do
behavioral mapping. I think it’s something I can offer professional offices in the future,
that I do know how a post-occupancy evaluation works, and I know how to evaluate successes
and failures in a space. It was good to be in the space, to see how it functioned, to
see the how the different user groups needed to use the space, and how the design was functioning. David Humlong: It’s not about the bricks
and mortar, it’s about the environment…to realize that the noise level was low, to realize
that there was privacy offered by the way we arranged space. All these things come together,
that’s why I’ve always been interested in healthcare architecture. But to be able
to give back and to be part of that patient’s or that family’s caregiving years after
the building is turned over to the owners, is very rewarding.

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