Work is underway to fully refurbish one of our hospital wards to meet the ever changing needs as we prepare to potentially be faced with further disruption from COVID-19. During times of uncertainty, adapting to change has never been more important and as an organisation we are always looking for ways to improve patient care and safety.
Ward 24 has been identified as a key respiratory ward and improvements to the ward have become priority to ensure the safest environment possible for our patients and colleagues.
Ward 24, a 1970’s design 30 bed ward, is situated on the third floor of the Tower Block at the University Hospital of North Tees. Access to the ward for the refurbishment was going to be difficult with it not being ground level, so infrastructure was put in place so the workers could enter the ward from the outside, improving safety and minimising disruption to patients and staff within the hospital.
Plans of the ward have been designed to increase single bed rooms in the case of multiple covid-19 patients, and suitable areas for staff to don and doff personal protective equipment. New air handlers will be installed on the roof of the tower block which will feed down to the ward increasing both oxygen capacity and low level ventilation and allowing more air changes to take place which is key in reducing the spread of airborne infections.
Another great feature of the planned area is increased glass windowed patient bays, improving visibility of patients without having to enter the rooms as frequently using ‘smart glass’. Users can immediately switch the window from clear to private (opaque) and vice versa.
The use of smart glass is particularly effective when used within an isolation ward as staff can review patients well without actually having to enter each isolation unit, risking cross-contamination. Instead, observation procedures are carried out using a safe, efficient system putting patient safety and wellbeing at the forefront by largely reducing the risk of infection.