Healthcare Facilities Rethink Design in the COVID-19 Era

Facilities across the country have had to be creative to find ways to safely handle the surge in patients

December 8, 2020

MikeDotta /

Healthcare facilities made a host of tactical changes after the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March. They updated entryways and HVAC systems in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus, strengthened supply chains for critical supplies and materials, and revamped interior spaces to enable staff and visitors to observe social distancing where possible.

Now after nine months of adapting, organizations are making more strategic changes, including rethinking the design of facilities to curtail the spread of infection and maximize safety.

Facilities across the country have had to be creative to find ways to handle the surge in patients, according to the Triangle Business Journal. These facilities have fast-tracked and accelerated the retrofit of existing structures, as well as brought new buildings to the finish line and online quickly. From converting patient rooms to intensive care spaces or setting up tents for overflow capacity, healthcare providers have looked for solutions to safely treat patients regardless of how spaces are configured.

For example, at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Skanska, a national construction and development firm, was able to redesign and accelerate portions of a $394-million expansion project to meet demand for bed capacity brought on by the pandemic. At another hospital project under construction, Skanska was able to accelerate the turnover of patient floors for emergency use while simultaneously finishing construction on the other floors. 

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