At least three hospitals have gone back to the drawing board to do a redesign of their under-construction buildings, especially the air circulation system, which is now being considered a key element. Other hospitals said that following the pandemic, infectious diseases would determine the layout of healthcare spaces.
Among the most common modification that hospitals are planning are wards that can be converted into isolation zones without alteration; keeping separate air-handling units per zone; PPE changing rooms on each floor; improved oxygen-supply systems; more entries and exits; and touch-free door handles.
“Covid has taught us that infectious diseases can call for isolation and cohorting any time, so quick conversion to isolation wards, conversion of wards to ICUs or multiple zoning of beds need to be in place,” said Rupali Basu, managing director & CEO, Woodlands Multispecialty Hospital. “Each zone will be serviced by a separate air handling unit and there will be no mixing of air between zones.”
The hospital will add 100 beds. Sanitizer dispensers, lift buttons, biometric readers, doors and taps will all be touch-free. Antimicrobial material will be used for door handles, table tops and switches.
Belle Vue Clinic had just started piling work on its new 400-bed hospital in New Town when the pandemic stalled work. Now, the hospital, set up in 1967, has sent back its design for revision. “We have learnt so much from Covid on the need to have all measures for infectious diseases, and they must be incorporated into the design. We will start construction only after the drawing is revised,” said Belle Vue CEO Pradip Tondon.
Most hospitals across the city had a fair amount of reworking to do on creating isolation wards and the air-circulation system as the number of Covid patients started rising. Many hospitals reported cross-infections in the beginning.
“We have engaged one of the best consultants from Delhi to design our new speciality block so that both the exterior and the interior have the best possible cross-infection-control measures and spaces for isolation,” said Peerless Hospital CEO Sudipta Mitra.
“Covid has altered the way a hospital layout should be planned. Our upcoming building for the cancer unit will factor in all measures for air handling and isolation,” said Alok Roy, chairman of Medica Superspecialty Hospital.
AMRI Hospitals group CEO Rupak Barua said they had to rework air conditioning and create isolation wards on a war footing when the pandemic began. “Learning our lesson, we redesigned the air circulation, ventilation and isolation areas in our new tower in Mukundapur, which was built during the pandemic,” he said.
Others, like RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, are working on incorporating infection-control measures and isolation facilities into expansion plans.