Commercial Interiors Design talks to regional manufacturers about the challenges of bringing good design to healthcare.
Nowadays, healthcare design is vital not just for patients’ well-being and visitors’ experience but also for the economics of an increasingly competitive marketplace, regional manufacturers tell CID.
The latest Ventures ME report, prepared for the 2017 Index exhibition, shows that, compared to last year, hospital projects in the region will almost double in value by the end of 2017, reaching approximately $8bn. Furthermore, the GCC interior and fit-out spend on healthcare projects will be worth approximately $650m.
Furwaniya and Al Sabah hospitals in Kuwait, Royal Maternity Hospital and Dar Al Shifa Hospital in Bahrain, Orthopaedic Hospital Dubai Healthcare City and Al Amal Hospital in Dubai are some of the recent facilities where Geberit has installed its sanitary products.
“Healthcare institutions are realising that good design can improve patients’ mood and can actually help people get well faster, says Louise Pitt, marketing and CRM manager at Geberit. “In the past, the design of healthcare facilities was focused more on supporting medicare needs. Challenges that architects are facing today include designing hospitals that not only will be efficient for the medical staff but at the same time can make the patients feel less stressed and give the feeling of well-being.”
When creating special products for hospitals and clinics, Pitt says that hygiene remains the priority.
“All products must be easily cleaned. We will design modern but clear lines where dirt and bacteria cannot hide. All Geberit WC are Rimfree so not only do they look nice but they also flush in a hygienically optimal way. Without a rim germs, bacteria and dirt have nowhere to hide,” she says.
More specifically, looking at the healthcare facility bathroom design, Pitt notices that the target nowadays is to create a hospital bathroom that feels more like a hotel.
“But despite this, we must never forget this is a healthcare bathroom so we would like to see only quality materials suitable for the purpose such as electronic wall mounted mixers, wall hung WC without flushing rim, and touchless actuators for concealed tanks,” she says.
Mohamed Barakat, international sales manager at Bradley Corp. Middle East, agrees by adding that washing areas that reduce germ contamination within healthcare environments should also be at the top of designers’ agenda.
“We have developed a number of touch-free hand washing fixtures that minimise germs being spread visitor to visitor or visitor to patient,” he says. “Many of our hand washing fixtures are designed with Terreon solid surface material, which is seamless and non-porous, so it’s easy to clean, maintain and repair. Terreon is moulded as one piece with no cracks or crevices. OmniDeck basins are another line of multi purpose plumbing fixtures that achieve a high design aesthetic. These Terreon under mount basins feature a flat bottom design that maximises the usable space of the basin.”
The company has supplied Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, and patient care units to Al Salam Hospital in Kuwait.
“Our products have also been included in projects including City Hospital in Dubai and King Hamad University Hospital in Bahrain,” says Barakat.
Another thing to consider, according to Richard Roberts, head of sales at Hoppe GCC, is that the designs employed do not hinder the flow of people through the building and potentially add to their stress levels.
“It is important that the hardware specification integrates completely with the design aesthetic yet meets all regulatory constraints and functions faultlessly for many years,” he says, adding that is imperative that the needs of the clients are understood in full before creating a specification or product profile.
He continues: “There is a famous case of a London hospital fearing government sanctions for having the hospital signage in English only. Immediately they scheduled a full replacement programme for the entire site which covered the 10 most common languages for hospital clients. After an expensive replacement programme, the hospital management decided to conduct a survey to discover how their actions had been received. Expecting a positive outcome to the survey they were dismayed to discover that 45% of the hospital’s clients could not read or write in their own language.”
Meanwhile, using an unprotected handle, he compares to “shaking hands with hundreds of previous users at the same time”.
“With our own in-house research and development department we are able to develop products that not only meet the end-users’ expectations but also comply with prevailing standards and codes. For example, we manufacture the lever/pull handles in our own factories where we also add anti microbial protection. This gives us total quality control from raw material to the product being despatched.”
Hoppe is currently supplying a major regional hospital in Kuwait where there is a substantial quantity of antimicrobial architectural hardware products.
Main image: King’s College Hospital Jumeirah Clinic, designed by Perkin+Will.