Welcome to the green patient room

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with the well being of the planet and themselves. Addressing these concerns is the first-of-its-kind Green Patient Room, a health care exhibit utilizing ecologically-friendly design and materials to show just how “green” hospital facilities can go.


Environmental responsibility and health care are on the national conscience, as Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with the well being of the planet and themselves. Addressing these concerns is the first-of-its-kind Green Patient Room, a health care exhibit utilizing ecologically-friendly design and materials to show just how “green” hospital facilities can go. The Green Patient Room will be featured at the International Facility Management Association’s World Workplace 2007 Conference & Expo, Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, in New Orleans.

Created by architectural firm Anshen+Allen in conjunction with the IFMA Health Care Council and Corporate Realty, Design & Construction, the Green Patient Room was unveiled earlier this year at D&D Communications Group’s Commercial Construction Show in Chicago, Ill. It was developed to illustrate how sustainable design practices can improve patient care by increasing efficiency and reducing the anxiety of medical staff, patients and families. The room also serves as an educational tool for health care administrators, showing how they can adopt green practices now.

“To my knowledge, no one has done a Green Patient Room as an educational exhibit prior to this,” said Gary Collins, AIA, president of the IFMA Health Care Council and associate principal for Anshen+Allen. “It may not happen over night, but this display will help hospital personnel learn how to update their facilities with the latest in green products, whether they want to undertake a multi-phase remodel or go green one component at a time.”

Part of the innovation of the Green Patient Room is that it is divided into three unique zones: patient, family and staff. Each zone is meant to improve patient care by increasing comfort and minimizing disorder and stress.

Including the bathroom and much of the bedroom, the patient zone is designed to provide patients as much control over their environment as possible. Potentially intimidating medical equipment is discreetly located on one side of the patient bed, where it is easily accessible to medical staff, yet out of sight of patients and their families.

The family zone is designed to encourage family stays, as studies show families who visit frequently and stay longer are more involved in patient care, helping to improve patient well being and facilitate healing. Reminiscent of a living room, the family zone features a sleeper sofa, television, desktop space and other amenities.

The staff zone is organized to accommodate staff workflow and provide better access to equipment by reducing clutter and improving lighting, thereby helping minimize injury and medical error.

The Green Patient Room also takes practical, cost-effective steps to combat energy waste and improve patient health. Low-flow rate faucet aerators, showerheads and toilets reduce water consumption. High-performance lighting, glass and insulation systems utilize natural light and reduce energy costs. Non-toxic materials low in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions are used throughout the room to improve air quality and speed patient recovery.

The result is a room founded on Evidence-Based Design (EBD) principles, meaning the dynamic of the room itself can contribute to patient care and encourage the healing process.

“We are only now beginning to recognize and study the human body’s subtle interactions with the environment — this is what EBD is all about,” said Suzanne Drake, senior interior designer for Anshen+Allen and a LEED accredited professional. “EBD is still a burgeoning science, so whenever we can demonstrate — with hard data — why we need a design which may cost more up front, it’s an easier decision for the building’s owner to make. EBD gives us, as designers, instant credibility, and it gives building owners peace of mind that they are making the right decision.”

Those interested in experiencing the Green Patient Room will get their chance at World Workplace 2007 in New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The exhibit will be featured in the Green Zone, an exclusive section of the expo floor reserved for those exhibitors offering environmentally friendly products and services.

The expo will be open Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and Friday, Oct. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For a complete list of exhibitors or more information, please visit www.worldworkplace.org .

IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 18,500 members in 60 countries. The association’s members are represented in 125 chapters and 15 councils worldwide. Formed in 1980, IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs, recognizes facility management degree and certificate programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition. For more information, visit www.ifma.org .

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