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Maximising Efficiency: Hospital Refurbishments

4 weeks ago by verkeer

Hospital refurbishments play a critical role in maintaining the functionality and aesthetics of healthcare facilities. In this article, we delve into the significance of refurbishments within NHS trusts, focusing on how painting and decorating services can enhance efficiency, patient experience, and compliance with healthcare standards.

Overview of NHS Trust Refurbishments

There were approximately 570 million patient contacts with community, mental health, GP, hospital, NHS 111, and ambulance services in 2021/22. This can be broken down into an estimated 1.6 million patient interactions every day. With such high demand for healthcare, periodic hospital refurbishments of NHS trusts are essential for ensuring safety, efficiency, and modernisation.

Given the nature of the changes, scale, or type of construction, painting, and decorating works that may occur during a healthcare facility’s life cycle, the scope and frequency of hospital renovations can vary considerably. Refurbishments may be required for various reasons, from changing technology and equipment obsolescence to the need for improved patient experience or new regulations. This means that refurbishment might be required every five years or less to 40 years or more.

With each facility being unique, it’s not possible to take a one-size-fits-all approach when refurbishing hospitals. Instead, each project requires meticulous strategic planning to ensure all needs are met efficiently and effectively, and that various challenges are overcome.

Among the challenges faced by NHS trusts during refurbishments are patient care continuity, cleanliness and infection control, regulatory compliance, limited downtime due to hospitals’ need to remain operational 24/7, maintenance coordination, and maintaining clear communication with all stakeholders.

Man painting

Enhancing Patient Experience

Whether in-patients or out-patients, many people who are admitted to or visit hospitals for various healthcare needs are under a significant amount of stress. Caring for them should go beyond professional medical treatment, a good bedside manner, and top-notch equipment and medications.

It’s also essential to pay attention to hospital aesthetics and to create a calm, relaxing environment that’s conducive to rest and recovery. A hospital renovation is the perfect opportunity to enhance the aesthetics of the space through strategic painting and decorating choices, creating a welcoming environment for patients, visitors, and staff.

Numerous studies have shown that the room layout, along with furnishings, wall colours, and artwork, can enhance feelings of comfort and security in patients, helping them to maintain a positive frame of mind. The aesthetic choices should also take into account ergonomic principles, patient privacy, and personal interactions, whether with medical personnel or family and friends.

The Harvey Ward at Medway Maritime Hospital is a fine example of a hospital refurbishment that enhanced patient and staff experience. The £1.74 million makeover included a day room with TV, easy chairs, and a dining table and chairs, a dedicated relative’s room, dedicated staff room, new multidisciplinary team room, dedicated room for dementia patients, and therapy equipment to support patients’ mobility.

Compliance with Healthcare Standards

Compliance with healthcare standards is one of the biggest challenges of hospital renovations. All healthcare facilities in the UK are bound by stringent regulations and standards to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

All maintenance and refurbishment work must adhere to these standards, which cover the use of certified materials and processes to ensure infection control, safety, and accessibility, as well as patient care continuity. Contractors must plan and carry out all maintenance and renovation work according to hygiene protocols to prevent the risk of infections or other health concerns due to the introduction of debris, dust, and potential contaminants to sterile areas. The materials used for surface finishes, furniture, and other fixtures and fittings in hospitals should be designed to minimise the risk of infection transmission, and they should be able to withstand regular cleaning and disinfection. Partnering with experienced contractors like Bell who offer healthcare refurbishment services can help NHS trusts navigate the many and various compliance complexities efficiently. One such contractor, Bell, has a wealth of experience with meticulous planning and execution of refurbishment work that complies with vitally important standards and regulations.

Maximising Operational Efficiency

In addition to enhancing the patient experience, a well-planned and executed hospital refurbishment can optimise layouts and workflows to improve operational efficiency. A renovation also allows for smart design choices, such as colour schemes and space utilisation, that can lead to enhanced staff productivity and patient care delivery.

Unpacking this further, we find that a good refurbishment can reduce the risk of infection, create more rooms for patients through smart utilising of available space, and improve hospital performance. Hospital renovation can also enable staff to work more effectively with the latest technology, reduce the possibility of accidents through the use of safer technology, and lower operating costs through better utilisation of available resources and the introduction of green alternatives.

Sustainable Practices in Hospital Refurbishments

The last few years have seen sustainability in healthcare facilities becoming increasingly important. This approach prioritises environmental sustainability along with health outcomes. It does so through the implementation of diverse green practices to maximise efficient resource consumption and minimise negative environmental impacts. Sustainability in hospital refurbishments should inspire energy efficient solutions, waste reduction strategies, and even eco-friendly painting and decorating options for a truly holistic approach.

Well-planned hospital renovations offer a wide scope for improved sustainability. Renovations offer opportunities for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to switch to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and to adopt green building design features such as natural lighting, rainwater harvesting, environmentally friendly insulation materials, and energy efficient HVAC systems. Facilities can also implement practices for more efficient water management, sustainable procurement, and waste management through proper waste segregation, recovery, and recycling.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is a good example of a hospital that has implemented several sustainability initiatives as part of its refurbishment. Among them were the creation of a CHP plant for energy generation to eliminate the need for power derived from coal, a bore well to reduce the amount of water taken from the main supply, a clinical waste incineration partnership, and an LED lighting scheme. A couple of the measurable benefits of these initiatives include a reduction of 868 tonnes of CO2 since the baseline year of 2019/20 and a 16% reduction in water consumption between 2010 and 2021.

Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement

Collaboration and communication between NHS trusts, stakeholders, and contractors offering refurbishment services are essential components of successful hospital renovation projects. The main objective of collaboration and stakeholder engagement is to ensure all parties involved in the project are kept informed about its challenges, goals, and progress, and to allow for regular feedback and input from all stakeholders.

Effective communication helps deepen trust, improves engagement and investment, and makes for stronger relationships between stakeholders and the project team. It also minimises the risk of misunderstandings.  

A solid communication and engagement strategy should be an integral part of hospital refurbishments. Such a strategy should identify all stakeholders involved and determine their communication needs. The strategy also should include a detailed communication plan including methods/channels, frequency, and the content of communications. It’s also important to tailor communication according to each stakeholder’s needs.

Communication and engagement should be honest and transparent, and it should include active listening to the stakeholders so that their concerns can be addressed effectively. Lastly, the strategy should allow for the documenting and appropriate sharing of important information, as well as the periodic reviewing and adjusting of the communication plan.

Bell’s collaborations with Nottingham University Hospital and Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals are good examples of timely, budget friendly, and high-quality refurbishments. At Nottingham University Hospital, we were asked to paint the spiral staircase which accesses the facility’s upper levels. This involved intensive stripping of paint from upper ceiling areas before treating those areas and handrails with a sealant before painting the handrails, walls, ceilings, and line markings on the nose of the steps.

At Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, we were asked to perform firestopping works on door frames, followed by the plastering and decoration of walls and doorframes. The work involved the removal of architraves and any existing rockwool filling, cutting back of existing packers to allow a 15mm Hilti CFSSSILCW fire sealant mastic bead, the application of Hilti fire foam CF-125-50 allowing for a 15mm Hilti mastic covering either side of the door casing, the de-nailing, cleaning, and refitting of architraves, plastering any damage to the walls, and the decoration/painting of the plaster and architraves.

Choose Bell for Refurbishment Services

Hospital refurbishments are vital for maintaining the functionality, safety, and aesthetics of healthcare facilities within NHS trusts. By focusing on painting and decorating refurbishment services, NHS trusts can maximise efficiency, enhance patient experience, and ensure compliance with healthcare standards. By prioritising strategic planning, collaboration, and sustainable practices, NHS trusts can achieve successful refurbishment projects that positively impact both patients and staff.

Contact us for more information about how we can assist with your hospital renovation.