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Healthcare / New models of care

Modular and adaptable beds solution can help plan for further virus waves

By Andrew Sansom 13 May 2020 0

Arup has launched a series of design guidelines for scalable, modular and rapid healthcare solutions to help increase bed capacity for coronavirus patients.

Hospital campuses are typically constrained sites and any solution must mitigate the risk of further virus transmission. With a critical shortage of intensive care and ward beds, Arup set about designing a system to offer greater flexibility. 

Its solution is CareBox, a collaboration between the company’s engineering healthcare, international development and community engagement teams. 

The system, says the company, can be quickly transported, deployed and implemented to provide additional capacity in a range of settings, from existing healthcare campuses to conversion of other facilities. Designed to be adaptable and suit a variety of spaces and contexts, CareBox is also said to be able to address a broad range of challenges faced by different national healthcare systems. 

Three key applications include: 

  • The ‘plug-in’ hospital: This is described as a ready-to-use, modular field hospital that can be attached to existing healthcare infrastructure. It helps connect medical staff, logistics and provides access to medical gases and other vital treatments and services.
  • Reusing spaces: CareBox is said to enable the provision of additional wards in spaces such as vacant commercial spaces, in cities and towns where there is limited external space for traditional field hospital solutions.
  • Adapting existing buildings: This specification brings health services to existing buildings such as convention centres, sports halls or outdoor areas sheltered by tents or other temporary structures, converting them into efficient-to-operate healthcare venues.

With the potential for second waves of cases, Arup says the solution will allow healthcare providers in almost any location to ramp up supply of critical care facilities quickly, providing an efficient, low-cost solution. This means greater numbers of patients can be treated effectively and helps the rest of the economy to operate, knowing that healthcare services will not become overloaded, it says. 

The solution could also prove effective in developing countries, or those with limited existing healthcare infrastructure. And once implemented, Arup suggests, it could continue to be valuable to these communities, either providing ongoing medical facilities or be redeployed to other locations where the need is greatest. 

Organisations involved