6 ways COVID-19 changed hospital development

The COVID-19 pandemic not only delayed several hospital capital projects but also made long-term changes to how these projects are developed. 

Here are six ways hospitals are adapting their development plans:

1. Air quality
More hospitals, which already had stricter ventilation requirements than typical office buildings, are investing in air quality solutions due to COVID-19, Charlotte Business Journal reported Nov. 5. Negative pressure rooms, which prevent contaminants in the air from escaping, have become more popular, something Charlotte, N.C.-based Novant Health plans to add more of. Additionally, UVC lighting is being used more to disinfect air, the article said.

2. Versatile spaces
Many hospitals have built temporary spaces to handle an influx of COVID patients, like Atrium Health, also in Charlotte, which used drive-thru testing and tents outside of emergency departments, according to Charlotte Business Journal. Some hospitals have also used partitions and modular units.

3. Changing administrative space to clinical care
Another method is adapting administrative space — which has not been used as much while people work from home — into clinical space to treat patients, the Samuels Group reported in September. While many of these offices sit empty, hospitals can use them to increase capacity. Some have also used other spaces like conference rooms, Charlotte Business Journal said.

4. Changes to furniture
The pandemic forced many hospitals to examine how furnishings and surfaces, like upholstery, can be easily sanitized, according to the Samuels Group. Seating has also been changed to allow for more social distancing and privacy. This includes chairs with higher backs and more barriers being added to create private nooks.

5. Pandemic wings
Some hospitals are creating specific wings that would provide a more permanent solution to the pandemic. This includes Marianna, Fla.-based Jackson Hospital, which is seeking a grant to change its third floor into a pandemic wing.

6. Additional investment
With these sudden changes, hospitals are having to pay higher costs, Charlotte Business Journal reported. Typically, budgets take years of planning, but COVID-19 forced hospitals to adapt quickly.


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