In the News
New design tool for improving spatial flow on nursing units. Using a detailed analysis of the complex factors that influence movement efficiency, researchers have developed a visual design checklist to ascertain flow obstacles within acute care units. The tool allows a team to identify three main components of clinical work spaces, priority links among the spaces and the activities, and interruption checkpoints. The authors suggest that the checklist could help designers and planners improve the spatial layout on nursing units to reduce caregiver fatigue, interruptions, and redundancies. For example, no-interruption zones for tasks such as charting and medication preparation can be created using signage or barriers that still allow nurses to view patients. The authors write in the Fall 2012 Health Environments Research and Design Journal that designs ideally should be implemented before units are occupied, which would also improve business outcomes by eliminating waste.