PI: Craig Zimring
Status: Completed in 2008
Introduction: This project supports redesign of Emory Neurointensive Critical Care Unit. It applied many evidence-based design features, thus in order to create a family and patient-centered healthcare environment.
Issue: Emory University Hospital created its Neurointensive Critical Care Unit in 1998 to care for stroke patients and others with severe brain injuries. The team provided extraordinary care, but the physical facilities were antiquated. The unit took over three 1980s intensive care units (ICUs). The patient rooms were so small that there was barely room for family members to stand next to the bed, much less for a care team to provide high-level care at the bedside.
Approach: The medical director, Emory neuro-intensivist Owen Samuels, M.D.,approached Georgia Tech’s Craig Zimring, Mahbub Rashid (now a professor at the University of Kansas), and PhD students Kem Jayanetra, Keith Jundanian, Bo Seo, and Young-Seon Choi to research comparable units, study how the Emory unit worked, and apply the relevant research linking design to patient, staff, and organizational outcomes. This became an exercise in collaboration and evidence-based design. The Georgia Tech team worked with Samuels and his team and the architects HKS to create a design that would be patient and family centered, encourage effective teamwork, and reduce stress for patients, families, and staff.
Outcome: The unit opened on January 31, 2007, and is innovative in many ways. Patient rooms are large with generous family areas where, for the first time in Emory’s history, families can spend the night in an ICU room. The unit is much quieter, with better acoustics and fewer alarms and is infused with natural light. Families have a large living room, a kids?room, quiet areas, and a backstage space for food, showers, and lockers. The unit has a high-resolution CT machine to reduce transfers for very ill patients. Nurses and other staff have workstations that are designed to support their tasks without distractions. Georgia Tech and Emory continue to work together to document the impact of the new design on patient safety and healthcare quality.