With Director Nik Clarke and Associate Director Dale Roberts
Director Nik Clarke and Associate Director Dale Roberts share their expertise on designing effective healthcare settings.
How do you ensure the space is fit for purpose?
Nik: “We always spend a lot of time up front speaking to users of the building. In healthcare that usually means clinicians as well as the non-clinical staff, i.e. doctors, nurses, receptionists, secretaries, etc. They understand how the space is used and the needs of the patients.”
Dale: “It’s the little details that really matter – things that patients probably don’t even realise. For example, when clinical staff are trained, they’re always taught right-handed. This impacts the room layout, for instance the bed position and where the desk is placed relative to patient seating – everything must be designed to allow them to work in the way they’ve been trained.”
What are the challenges and how do you overcome them?
Nik: “Many clinical spaces are housed in old Victorian buildings. Refurbishing these spaces to bring them to modern standards, particularly in listed buildings presents many challenges. Guidance is regularly updated – for example, we now need to allow space for two patient chairs in doctor’s surgeries. Room sizes therefore need to be larger to accommodate and this isn’t always easy to accomplish in an older building.”
Dale: “The conflict between designing sterile spaces and allowing people to access them is always a challenge! Infection control is rightly a huge priority and so everything must be designed with that in mind – the challenge to make these spaces more inviting is always a tricky one to overcome.”
Nik: “For example, the position of a sink in an examination room – should it be inside or outside the curtain? Should the clinician wash their hands prior to touching the curtain or should they use their arm to move the curtain and wash their hands outside, prioritisng patient dignity? The tiniest of details must be considered and it all impacts on the design of the spaces.”
What changes are happening at the moment?
Dale: “Technology is probably the biggest area. Things such as touchscreen self check-in, ensuring the non-clinical staff have room for more IT equipment in a comfortable working environment. We have to think about all these areas to ensure we design spaces which not only look great but are practical and easy to use.”
How are Morrison Design well placed to design these spaces?
Nik: “We have years of expertise in the area through numerous projects. Science and Technology, including Healthcare, is one of our specialist areas and they do share many similarities.
Let’s finish with a testimonial from one of our Healthcare clients – Horizon Healthcare:
“We had complete trust in the Morrisons team from initiation to finish for each of our projects. Their team spent a lot of time speaking to our Horizon Healthcare team to help them understand what we needed to achieve for our staff and patients. The team are a pleasure to work with and their knowledge of building requirements in a healthcare environment ensured the design process was smooth. We wouldn’t hesitate to use them again for future projects.”
Tina Hall, Practice Business Manager, Horizon Healthcare