We’re not foolproof: designing to assist with accessibility
Returning institution to aged care, Shaun Purcell of Wilson Architects
We are not foolproof. Getting from A to B is slower with each of our passing years and with an ageing population design and product needs for access and mobility will only grow. Hospitals and aged-care facilities increasingly must recognise that “patient-centred healing environments that integrate design and technology can lower stress, improve recovery rates and increase mobility”, says Elizabeth Grigg, principal of multi-disciplined Tectura Architects.
The design framework (salutogenic) for the practice’s aged and health care projects focuses on human health and wellbeing rather than disease. Wider corridors, ease-of-movement door widths especially for bathrooms, and easier-to-use furniture, fixtures and fittings are ways to promote mobility. Natural light, music, nature (interaction via larger and lowered patient room windows), art and civic spaces that blur the boundary between traditional hospital settings and community interaction are also important, Grigg said.
Here are ten products, available to the Australian market, that aid architects and designers on the quest to promote patient-centric healing environments for health care facilities:
Knauf wall linings
Knauf’s TruRock multi-functional plasterboard system has impact, water, mould and fire resistance as well as sound insulating properties. These internal wall linings are well suited for aged care facilities. Made from heavy duty paper, TruRock HD has a continuous fiberglass mesh embedded in the high density core limiting damage even under large impact forces.
Altro safety flooring
Altro Aquarius safety flooring provides optimum slip resistance in wet and dry environments. The flooring is suitable for bare feet and any type of shoe. The Altro Aquarius’s vibrant colour palette, developed in consultation with dementia experts, has contemporary or traditional design schemes, and offers homely, soft and healing colours in chipped and non-chipped options, for care homes and hospitals.
Aventos lift systems
Blum’s Aventos lift systems use a soft-close technology for the easy movement of mid and high wall cabinets and units. Even large and heavy lift systems can be opened easily, making cabinets and cupboard interiors accessible at all times. When combined with the Servo-Drive electric motion support system, the Aventos lift systems and pull-outs of all sizes open and close with a single touch.
Kradal floor tiles
Kradal Floor Tiles from Charles Parsons help prevent injuries from falls. Using a patented polyurethane technology, their soft, attractive floor surface is safe and resilient for high traffic areas. Each tile is made up of thousands of micro-spheres that cushion impact, are durable, provide protection from falls and are suitable for commercial and residential installation.
Over 30,000 sq m of USG Boral's patented Fiberock was recently used for wall linings and partitions at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). Other projects using this multi-functional, sustainable, water, fire, mould and impact resistant material, with acoustic qualities, include Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Gold Coast University Hospital and Midland Hospital Perth.
Legrand antimicrobial technology
Legrand has launched its Excel Life Medical Range with antimicrobial technology that enables healthcare facilities to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. The new wiring devices and electrical accessories are constructed with silver ions said to deliver a kill rate of up to 99 per cent against common hospital bacteria.
Stormtech linear drainage
These cutting edge drainage solutions deliver level-plane, zero stepdown drainage for indoor and outdoor applications tailored for the aged care industry. The linear drainage conforms to AS1428 (access and mobility codes). It is specially designed to eliminate the constraints of traditional centralised drainage systems and meets the looks and requirements of open-plan designs.
Enware smart toilet
Enware’s Care600 smart toilet is a user friendly and compliant for a class 9C residential ensuite with room dimensions to 1.8 x 2.2 metres. It has an integrated cistern backrest, easy-to-grasp support arm system with optional nurse call button available, stainless steel hinges and seat stability and is fully glazed to minimise bacteria growth. The flexible design features accommodate mobility changes and provide easy access for staff, carers and commode chairs.
Gyprock says its EC08 Complete is Australia’s first environmental plasterboard with mould resistance and is ideal for specialised healthcare, aged care and child care construction. This low volatile organic compound board is manufactured to AS2588 Gypsum Plasterboard and with Gyprock’s high recycled reCore technology. Gyprock EC08 was the first Australian-made plasterboard to be certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia and has been approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.
Caroma wall basin
Caroma’s Care 500 Wall Basin is designed to meet Type C hospital requirements for non-clinical basins. Ideal for general hand-washing for staff, patient and public amenities, its landing projections from basin waste and tapware minimises potential splashing from water flowing directly into the basin, helping infection and hygiene management. Its tamper-resistant fittings increase security for institutional applications.
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