Clinic By Design

Allied Services

Why Infection Control is Important During Hospital Construction

When it comes to hospital and medical clinic construction it has always been important to design with infection control in mind but with the added complexity of the current COVID-19 pandemic it is imperative your design incorporates everything you may need in order to keep your staff and patients as safe as possible.


In line with the current government guidelines the standard precautions when it comes to infection control are:

Hand hygiene and cough etiquette

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

The safe use and disposal of sharps

Routine environmental cleaning

Incorporation of safe practices for handling blood, body fluids and secretions as well as excretions


So how can we design to incorporate these precautions in an easy to use and understand manner when it comes to your hospital or medical clinic construction?

In order to reduce the risk of disease transmission it is important to make the right design choices which include:


1. Hand Sanitiser Stations –

Good hygiene needs to start from the moment staff members or patients walk through your hospital or clinic’s front doors. In order to give everyone within your hospital or clinic some piece of mind, having a fully stocked sanitisation station available at the entrance is imperative. During times such as these the general mind set is that we will be somewhat protected with the use of hand sanitiser. By having sanitisation stations available, and most importantly, maintained (there is nothing worse than arriving somewhere to find an empty bottle of hand sanitiser or auto station that is dispensing air).
 

2. Materials and Finishes –

By using antimicrobial finishes and materials on surfaces that are considered high traffic areas you are reducing the risk of transmission between patients and staff members. Upholstery that includes a health grade treatment ensures your furniture has permanent protection against stains, fungus, bacteria and mildew and can be easily cleaned on a daily basis. When it comes to fittings and fixtures being installed into your new hospital or medical clinic construction copper is a fantastic inclusion as it has been found to exhibit extremely impressive antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties through the release of copper ions when microbes, transferred by touching, sneezing etc. land on the copper surface. Although stainless steel is seen as the more cost effective and cleaner option (due to the finish when cleaned), regular wear and tear can create indentations and scratches that leave valleys in which superbugs and viruses can reside and escape cleaning procedures.


3. Reduce Exposure –

Horizontal surfaces can be a breeding ground for germs, especially if they are not cleaned properly, so the best thing to do when going through the interior details of your hospital or medical clinic construction is minimise these areas. Not only does it give you less areas to worry about having cleaned properly but it cuts out the issue all together. Of course it is impossible to have absolutely no horizontal surfaces within your clinic but it is a good idea to reduce these surfaces where you can. Things like automatic doors and curtains, sensor taps and the specification of equipment with as few flat surfaces as possible can make a big difference.

 

4. Air Management –

When it comes to smart air management in a medical environment natural ventilation and high level filtration systems should be in place in order to keep fresh air coming in while keeping airborne germs out, therefore reducing the risk of germs being recirculated throughout your clinic. Another factor that can be problematic is humidity, therefore humidity control is extremely important in order to reduce the transmission rate of certain microbes.

 

5. Natural Light –

It has been shown that sunlight has the ability to kill certain types of microbes and therefore letting as much natural light into your clinic as possible can be a huge benefit. Not only does it have benefits when it comes to hygiene but a room filled with natural light can also create a calming environment for patients and staff with a sense of bringing the outside in. Of course there are many other factors that can be taken into consideration when designing your new hospital or medical clinic construction when it comes to infection control but these simple things can make a huge difference to patients and staff. Making it possible for people to feel comfortable within your clinic is a big asset to you and will help to promote word of mouth referrals, repeat patients and happy staff members.

The Benefits of Investing in a Professional Office Fitout

Although it may seem like an easier and more cost effective option to project manage your own medical office fit out there are real benefits in having a professional company take on the task for you.

 

When it comes to fitting out your new office or medical facility there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before works can start.

 

By making a list of the general things you should take into consideration is worthwhile and will give you a real insight into just how much time needs to go into everything from floor plan design to which trades you should use.

Consider the following when it comes to your new office fit out.

Know Your Trades

Probably one of the biggest positives to having a professional office fit out company running your project is that they know their trades.

 

For someone starting up you will most likely be finding your trades through recommendations or reviews which a great place to start is but you won’t really know what you are getting yourself into until the works have begun.

 

We have worked in this industry long enough to know that good tradespeople can be very hard to come by and once you have them you do not want to let them go. Clinics by Design have long standing relationships with the majority of our trades which means if there are any issues they can be resolved quickly and effectively.

Finding a Location

 If you are in need of a new location you will need to engage a real estate agent to find the perfect tenancy for you and your business.

 

Firstly, you want to make sure the tenancies you are considering tick all the boxes in the way of requirements. Depending on the type of business you are running (i.e. if you are medical do you have enough accessible parking, amenities within the building, are you zoned correctly etc.) you will have to be up to date with all the current regulations and standards yourself.

 

Not all office fit out companies offer a tenancy search service but if they do we believe it is money well spent and something we definitely recommend. Not only are companies such as ourselves up to date with all the current standards we know what to look for in the way of hidden issues within structural or services areas that may not be as obvious to the untrained eye and therefore can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Designing for Growth

 Even if you feel like you have everything you need within your business right now there is no harm in preparing for the future.

 

Before you make any final decisions on your floor plan let’s think about how we can utilise the space in a way that is both suitable for today’s needs as well as future growth. Think administration areas that have the space to add additional reception staff when needed or storage rooms that already have the bones (i.e. electrical and plumbing services that are easy to access) to be converted into consultation rooms should any additional specialists join your team down the track.

 

Don’t let your new office fit out be the thing that gets in the way of your growth.

Designing for Staff

 Over the years we have seen a lot of offices designed and then re-designed as soon as staff members got to see any proposed plans.

 

We like to suggest displaying any proposed drawings in communal areas within the office for a short time before anything is set in stone. This gives your staff members the opportunity to come to you with any suggestions regarding layout of their area. Of course we aren’t saying each workspace needs to be customised to that particular person, this wouldn’t be feasible, but you would be surprised at how many little things can make a big difference in the efficiency of someone’s day. While you might think you are saving space by placing the printer at the rear of reception your receptionists may find it saves them time having it on the desk next to them.

 

If you don’t ask you never know, and the last thing you want is to have to make changes after the job is complete.

 

Of course there are many other aspects of any office fit out that need to be taken into consideration but these few show just how much thought needs to go into even the most simple end of the design process and why a professional fit out company will save you time and money leaving you to concentrate on the most important thing, running your business.

How to Design for Behavioural Healthcare

When it comes to healthcare design within a medical environment dealing specifically with serious behavioural issues and mental health it is important to make sure you have a strong understanding of what patients will require in order to feel safe and comfortable before and during their appointment.

 

With mental health statistics growing more and more every year we can see that people that may have previously been suffering in silence are starting to speak out. The next step is for them to locate a healthcare facility designed specifically for their needs. 

 

Certain things need to be taken into consideration when designing for healthcare and something that may seem small could in fact make a huge impact not only on the visiting  patients but also your staff when it comes to safety and being comfortable within their working environment. 

 

Floor Plan – Keeping your staff safe is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a business owner and getting your healthcare facility floor plan right from the beginning is one of the best ways to do it. 

Designing your new healthcare facility layout take the following into consideration:

Ensure your doctors always have easy access to the door by positioning desks in a way that they do not have to pass a patient should they need to exit the room quickly.


Where possible make sure all public amenities are at the front of the practice and visible to reception staff. Although it may seem like a good idea to hide the toilets in the back where no-one can see them you want your patients to feel comfortable that they can easily access the amenities and this also reduces the risk of any patients wandering around the clinic, possibly gaining to access to consultation rooms or staff areas


The installation of duress buttons under desks is a great way to make sure your practitioners are safe at all times and know they can easily get help if they need it


Furniture – Another important element of healthcare design is selecting the correct furniture.


Choose seating that won’t take up too much space. With the new Covid safe rules you want to be able to fit the recommended amount of patients in your waiting room comfortably. By selecting chairs that are too big you may run out of room.


For safety reasons it is best to select seating that has a sled base as opposed to legs. This reduces the risk of damage should a chair be lifted up and used as a weapon. The same goes for upholstery, make sure all upholstered chairs have  hidden staples to avoid removal


Items such as side tables that can be secured to the floor are recommended and if securing to the floor is not possible we suggest selecting items that are too heavy to be lifted easily by one person


Do not have decorative items such as vases etc accessible to patients


This is not to say you can’t decorate your new clinic to make it look welcoming, there are many things you can do to give your healthcare facility a modern, comforting look that will not pose any risk to staff or patients


Use calming colours such as blues and greens. These colours can be used in interesting ways through laminate, vinyl flooring, vinyl decals for walls and of course paint.


Live plants are not only nice to look at but they also promote a calming environment by cleaning the air, absorbing toxins and increasing humidity. Installing a live plant wall becomes not only a beautiful feature within your healthcare design but is also good for your clinic


As you can see it is easy to make your healthcare facility a calming yet modern place for patients and staff alike.

Office Fit Outs Melbourne

Although Medical, Veterinary and Dental clinics are our specialty we also have an extremely strong background in office fit out through our parent company Cooper Group Australia and throughout the years we have helped many medical professionals in creating functional head offices and training facilities across Melbourne.

 

We understand that medical services don’t stop in the clinic and the administration and/or training side of this industry is just as important as the onsite treatment of patients. As well as this, not everyone in an administration or research role needs to be based within a clinic to do their job and therefore if you are looking for some extra space an office fit out could be the answer for you.

 

Given the current Covid situation we are seeing a massive shift in medical environments and larger companies wanting to keep the amount of people working within their clinics at the onetime to a minimum in order to reduce nonessential patient staff contact.

Of course there will always be a need for administration staff within your clinic but the idea of taking some administration tasks to another location where possible has become more and more appealing.

 

Your office fit out can be set out in multiple ways depending on what kind of work you are doing and how you would like your staff to interact with one another.

 

Open plan offices can be beneficial for teams that need to work alongside one another on a regular basis but we also recognise that some tasks, especially within a medical environment, are confidential and need complete concentration when taking place.

Given most offices have a bit of both going on we generally suggest a mix of open spaces along with enclosed offices that can be used as shared spaces when required.

 

Of course some staff members may require a permanent office if the nature of their work requires it but other offices can be used on a booking, communal basis when needed.

 

The same goes for meeting areas. By creating a large boardroom and the inclusion of operable walls you can go from single meeting room to multiple training/ group activity rooms in an instant.

 

By putting the extra time into planning out your office fit out to match your staff member’s requirements you are setting yourself up with an efficient working environment.

 

A great thing to do in order to make sure you are on the right track in regards to what will work best for you and your staff members is to get them involved. Have your fit out company create mood boards that give everyone an idea of colour scheme and furniture choice. Print out a floor pan so staff can start to imagine where they will be working and if possible have some 3D renders made up to give them a real visualisation of their new work space.

 

With the New Year could come the opportunity to change the way you run your clinic by considering a medical office fit out.

How Ceiling Systems are Keeping us Healthy

When it comes to a brand new fit out, rarely would ceiling tiles be the first thing you would think about when it comes to aesthetics and hygiene but they are more important to your health than you would think.

 

 

When it comes to ceiling tiles within a healthcare environment it is very important that you chose the right product.

A few benefits to selecting a ceiling tile made for health are:

  • Anti-microbial performance to assist with infection control
  • Clean room performance
  • Durable, washable, soil resistant and water repellent
  • High acoustic performance (perfect for busy waiting areas and rooms made for confidential conversations)
  • High light reflective finish
  • Appealing smooth surface
  • Humidity resistance
  • Sustainability – Green Star contribution

By selecting these types of products to feature in your new clinic you are looking after your patients from the moment they walk in the door.

Want a Greener Clinic?


Making your clinic more environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be an arduous, time consuming task.  There are some easy ways that can help improve your workplace without spending a fortune!

  • Place some recycling stations throughout your admin and kitchen areas so staff can recycle all their unwanted paper & other recyclable materials.
  • When replacing or upgrading any of your white goods, make sure that you select items that have a high energy efficiency rating.
  • If you require any new furnishings, GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia) certified products are recommended.  For more information, go to geca.org.au.
  • Install motion detector activated lighting in areas of your clinic that are only used sporadically e.g kitchen, amenities etc.
  • Replace your old halogen down lights with energy efficient LEDs & the old fluorescent troffers with T5 troffers, which will in the long term save you $$ on your electricity bills too!
  • Add a bit of greenery. Research shows that having a few live plants in the workplace can improve the air quality which is always an advantage especially within the healthcare sector

Parking Matters

As a complete design and construct solution for medical and dental clinics we constantly get asked about car parking and your legal requirements.

In a nut shell, as per the current Victorian Planning Provisions; you need to provide:

  • 5 parking spaces for the first person providing health services, plus
  • 3 parking spaces for every other person providing health services

Under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), some of the required number of car parking spaces must be allocated as disabled car parking spaces, which must be in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2890.6-2009 (Disabled) and the BCA.

 

You must always speak to your local council first to see if they have any further requirements as it can vary from council to council.  You may also require assistance from a Town Planner if an application for a car parking reduction is required.

 

Clinics By Design are experienced in the Town Planning process and can take care of your town planning application plans & reports.

There’s someone we would like you to meet………..

 

Welcome to our new blog!

 

Clinics By Design, the offspring of well established design and construct company Cooper Group Australia are here and ready to help you with all of your healthcare needs.

 

We are a passionate bunch and this blog will cover everything from construction news, our favourite artists to general healthcare design tips and tricks.

With weekly updates we strive to keep at the forefront of the healthcare design and construct industry and can’t wait to help you create your perfect clinic.

Follow us on Instagram @clinics.by.design to keep up with what inspires us and progress photos of our current projects.