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Healthcare / Critical care

Architects outline plans for temporary ICUs and call for wider co-operation

By Andrew Sansom 15 Apr 2020 0

Dutch design firm Gortemaker Algra Feenstra has partnered with a prefabrication building specialist to draw up a plan to develop temporary intensive care units (ICUs), and is inviting other organisations to assist in building them.

The healthcare architect has joined forces with Interflow, a subsidiary of the Royal BAM group and a specialist in modular construction, validation and maintenance of operating rooms, temporary laboratories and cleanrooms, as well as laminar air-flow units.

Working together they have come up with the design for an ICU of 10 beds and supporting functions. These, they say, can be placed in existing sports and exhibition halls, vacant atria or spaces in or around hospitals within a very short time. The objective is for the unit to be produced and built within three to four weeks. 

With coronavirus patients specifically in mind, the beds can be set up in one open space and no individual rooms are required. This, say the companies, allows the entire unit to be easily pressurised, and medical staff are able to carry out their duties while wearing their personal protective equipment.  -

The design of the ICU features an open arrangement with nursing stations in the centre providing good observation. In the event of a possible shortage of respiratory equipment, the arrangement of beds allows for several patients to be connected to one machine, explain the companies. 

All support functions are located within the unit, which ensures that medical staff need only walk short distances. It’s said, too, that both the supply and removal of goods and waste can be collected through external doors without disrupting the care process.

The entire unit is constructed from prefabricated wall elements of standard sizes, which were deemed necessary to build quickly and cost effectively. Furthermore, the prefabricated elements are largely self-supporting with little additional construction required. The two companies add that the unit receives its own air treatment for a safe and clean environment. 

In a call for wider co-operation, Gortemaker Algra Feenstra and Interflow are looking for other parties keen to participate in this ICU project, including suppliers of medical equipment and furniture, as well as healthcare and government institutions. Completion of the full design plan will require an integrated approach, say the companies, in which a nearby hospital will play a major role based on its medical responsibility.