Innovative Design Trends for Health-Care Environments

From doors, hardware, and access control to rolling shades and flexible walls, the latest design advances make a positive impact on patient care and facility ROI
[ Page 2 of 4 ]       
Sponsored by AD Systems, AMBICO Limited, dormakaba, Clickeze® Privacy Systems, a division of Inpro®, and SIMONSWERK North America
This test is no longer available for credit

Door and Frame Products

There is always a need for affordable, cutting-edge products for evolving health-care applications, and door and frame products are often part of a complete health-care solution. Manufacturers, more and more, are anticipating the ever-changing challenges of increased security, patient and staff privacy, and microbial contamination. Additionally, the containment of radio wave and radiation interference in hospitals and clinics for X-ray rooms, PET scan theatres, or modern cyberknife clinics is essential. The use of high-security wood doors for patient rooms in behavioral health facilities provides a warm feel while maintaining a safe environment for patients.

The design and manufacturing of performance-leading door and frame products (such as acoustic resistant, bullet resistant, stainless steel, lead lined, radio frequency, and security wood doors) can add tremendous value. Stainless steel frames specifically are often used on patient rooms, and frames and doors are commonly found in operating and labs areas. According to Steve Peterman, director of sales and marketing, AMBICO Limited, “Today’s manufacturers must support architects by offering superior products and service to meet the often-demanding performance requirements associated with the built health-care environment.”

Some of the door and frame types that are popular for use in health-care facilities include:

Acoustic doors: Acoustic steel doors and frames are available that combine outstanding sound transmission loss with the appearance of standard hollow metal products. Such doors can be provided complete with acoustic steel frames, perimeter, and bottom seals. Acoustic wood doors and steel frames set the global standard for sound transmission loss. It is recommended that doors and frames be tested as a unit and supplied with acoustic perimeter and bottom seals. Wood doors are available in virtually any veneer species and cut to match other standard wood doors on a project. Custom stain or clear coat finishes are also available to match the appearance of commodity wood doors.

Radio frequency steel doors and frames: These door and frame assemblies should meet combined radio frequency standards. Assemblies shall be provided complete with perimeter gasketing, which is essential to product performance in the field. Materials can include mild steel or stainless steel formats to meet a wide variety of applications.

Bullet-resistant doors: Some manufacturers offer bullet-resistant steel doors and frames that are secure from ballistic attack yet have the appearance of standard hollow metal products. Many bullet-resistant products on the market can be furnished with factory-installed bullet-resistant glazing. Another option is bullet-resistant wood doors and steel frames, which can combine ballistic security with the appearance of standard wood door and steel frame products. Wood doors are available in virtually any veneer species and cut to match other standard wood doors on a project. Custom stain or clear coat finishes are also available to match the appearance of commodity wood doors. These products also can be furnished with factory-installed bullet-resistant glazing.

Lead-lined steel doors and frames: These are useful when there is a need to combine protection against radiation with the appearance of standard hollow metal products. Manufacturers offer fire-rated and non-fire-rated products. Materials here also can include mild steel or stainless steel, depending on the application.

Stainless steel doors and frames: These are used in health-care facilities where there is a demand for an extremely high level of cleanliness. Frames are readily available for use in ICU and operating room environments. Frames and doors can be custom designed and produced in alloys 304 and 316 with a wide range of finishes available.

Security wood doors and steel frames: These openings offer state-of-the-art security where patient or personnel security is a key concern. Offering a warm feel and a secure and safe environment for patient rooms in behavioral health facilities, these security openings include anti-ligature and anti-barricade hardware, providing safety and emergency access to patients at all times.

Emergency Sign on right, and wood bullet-resistant doors on left.

Photos courtesy of AMBICO Limited

Wood bullet-resistant doors in steel were used in the emergency areas of the 72-bed Major Hospital, a general medical and surgical hospital located in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Architectural Openings and Access Controls

Access control for architectural openings is another important management tool providing safety and security in health-care environments. In fact, electronic access control hardware and software can be an important touchpoint in the design of health-care facilities, in conjunction with openings with automatic sliding doors (including all-glass sliding doors and operators). Some product types that are being used currently include exit devices, door closers, cylindrical locksets, and electromagnets for hold-open systems.

As health-care facilities are complex and evolving environments, a well-considered access control strategy can be an enhancement, not an obstacle, to effective building performance in terms of ADA, fire codes, and occupant security. Furthermore, product and system specifications are integral to the definition of spatial boundaries and controlled movement through the entirety of a building. Effective application can correct issues in the present and provide adaptability in the future.

The bottom line is that for health-care facilities, the complex concepts of health, safety, and welfare are inextricably intertwined. Every health-care-related facility has a responsibility to provide a sterile, physically safe, and secure yet accessible managed environment in order to effectively conduct its daily operations.

For a successful project, it is imperative that the architect or designer become familiar with the latest products, standards, guidelines (including ADA), codes, and technologies specifically impacting the design and management of health-care facilities. Managing access and security and maintaining a sterile patient environment should always be top of mind in any health-care project.

According to Rick Ruppert, manager of architectural services at dormakaba Access Solutions Americas, “The inter-connectivity of access control, security, and even environmental systems now occurs at every scale. Something as complex as touch-free credentials activating automated doors that prompt a temporary HVAC override while the medical team makes its way to an emergency operating theater can be realistically accomplished. Once there, discrete recognition by the pharmacy cabinet security controls can create a virtual dispensary with highly exclusive access. Fundamentally, it all communicates through the same shared system.”

access controlled doors for health-care facilities.

Photo courtesy of dormakaba

Access control strategies are vital to providing safety and security for health-care facilities.


[ Page 2 of 4 ]       
Originally published in Architectural Record


Innovative Design Trends for Health-Care Environments
Buyer's Guide
AD Systems ExamSlide
ExamSlide is a sliding door system designed specifically for the unique needs of health-care projects. ExamSlide can be customized with wood or aluminum and glass doors, a range of sizes, smoke-rated and acoustic performance options, and ADA-compliant locking and latching hardware.
Bullet-Resistant Wood Doors and Steel Frames
The Major Hospital in Indianapolis required bullet-resistant doors for personnel and patient safety in the emergency room and surrounding areas. All assemblies had to comply with UL 752 ballistic standards. AMBICO’s ability to provide standard and custom side lites and borrowed lites proved critical to providing complete and effective solutions on the project.
AMBICO Limited
Formatrac® Bendable Cubicle Track
Easily eliminate the hassle associated with traditional track installation and design with Formatrac® Bendable Track. It can be bent by hand on the job-site so installation is simple. Additionally, because of its flexible nature, Formatrac can accommodate virtually any design. Quiet, too, thanks to our patented track and carrier design.
Clickeze® Privacy Systems, a division of Inpro®
ED100 Automatic Swing Door Operator
The versatile ED100 from dormakaba can function as either a low-energy operator or a power-operated pedestrian unit. This complete factory-engineered door system is ideal for ADA-compliant entrance applications. With a multitude of adjustable features, you have the flexibility to fine tune the operator to meet opening requirements.
VARIANT: The Adjustable Hinge System for Commercial Doors
The VARIANT series offers three-way adjustable hinge systems for wide, heavy-duty doors that require a robust and stable hinge. After being used successfully in Europe for many years in high-frequency commercial applications, this proven concept has been tailored to fit the needs of the North American marketplace.
SIMONSWERK North America