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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | 8 Considerations for Modern Laboratory Design

8 Considerations for Modern Laboratory Design

Life moves quickly in today’s laboratories, and modern laboratory design has to anticipate the ever-evolving requirements of research institutions. Modern laboratory design needs to be agile and easily reconfigurable while offering multi-disciplinary workspaces that encourage collaboration among researchers and other staff. Bioinformatics spaces and maker spaces are now integral requirements for many researchers. Crucially, today’s labs must be safe, accessible spaces that promote occupant wellness and environmental sustainability. A design that includes common amenities and services can also contribute to staff satisfaction and productivity.

Good laboratory design for the 21st century successfully integrates the following eight elements to deliver energy-efficient, flexible spaces that foster collaboration and innovation while offering openness and transparency to the general public.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | “The Blue Yarn” – Transforming Healthcare in Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience

“The Blue Yarn” – Transforming Healthcare in Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience

How a thread of blue yarn helped healthcare designers shift the paradigm in patient care design. Our EDAC team’s Evidence-Based Design (EBD) Hot Topics virtual session challenged Parkin colleagues across our three offices to explore creative ideas about designing for improved patient experience, Lean design, and continuous process improvement.

Parkin’s EDAC team recently delivered a Hot Topics presentation on The Blue Yarn, a case study about how, at the turn of the millennium, Virginia Mason Medical Center implemented a new, Lean, operational model based on the Toyota Production System.

The team then challenged Parkin colleagues to discuss what they learned and how they could apply those lessons to our projects and clients across Parkin project sectors. The session fostered creative ideas through five virtual break-out rooms, where teams ideated about improvements to patient process mapping, advancement of waiting room design, and development of separate departmental entrances to reduce the steps patients must travel to arrive at their points-of-care destinations.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | Engaging Clinical Leads to Enhance Healthcare Design Success

Engaging Clinical Leads to Enhance Healthcare Design Success

Being a nurse for over 25 years has provided a fine lens to assist me with my clinical planning experience.  It has helped me build an in-depth understanding of my involvement in the planning, design and construction of new state-of-the-art facilities.  My expertise and background helps me work with design teams to design hospitals that deliver better care to patients, families and communities they serve, as well as improving work environments for the staff. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had such a variety of clinical and quality improvement experience that has that has helped me in my role as a Clinical Lead. – Cindy O’Brien, RN, BsN, MHS, Clinical Lead

Successfully delivering patient-centered healthcare facility design requires integrating multiple, sometimes conflicting, design considerations into one space. Stakeholder consultations, therefore, are an important early element of any of Parkin’s projects. Clinical Leads are specially trained designers with backgrounds in healthcare delivery like nursing; they now play an increasingly key role in healthcare facility design, planning, and construction administration. Their clinical expertise in healthcare delivery best practices provides unique insights that have positive impacts on a project.

Engaging Clinical Leads throughout all stages of a project can lead to improved outcomes for the facility, patients, and staff. Clinical Leads can help cuts costs by timely identification of problems, and by helping to inform flexible designs that ensure a facility will be useful—well into the future.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | Designing Flexible Educational Spaces for Students and Community: Two Northern Canadian Examples

Designing Flexible Educational Spaces for Students and Community: Two Northern Canadian Examples

Today, new pedagogical approaches to education influence contemporary educational architecture. Flexible spaces are key to encouraging creativity and inquiry among students and can help educators provide deeper learning experiences. In many communities, educational facilities also serve as gathering spaces and social hubs.

Two Parkin projects in northern Canada exemplify how flexibility in educational facility design can encourage growth and deliver spaces where students, staff, and the whole community can feel welcome and thrive.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | Designing the Built Environment to Alleviate Fatigue and Burnout in Nurses

Designing the Built Environment to Alleviate Fatigue and Burnout in Nurses

Recently, nursing burnout made the news when the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WePRN) reported that 1 out of 3 nurses in Ontario has considered quitting the profession due to burnout over the past year. Similarly, a much larger study in 2010 found that 26% of those considering leaving the profession cited fatigue as one of the key reasons that they are thinking about quitting.

Long hours, a looming nursing shortage, and shift rotation can all take their toll on nurses over the long term. Burnout manifests as emotional exhaustion, dissatisfaction in their personal and work achievements, and depersonalization or an impersonal response to the people under their care. One of the many solutions that can help offer more support for nurses is building and working space design.

When it comes to patient care, evidence-based design elements such as access to natural views and daylight, noise control, room layout, and barrier free environments have proven to promote patient wellbeing, including reductions in the need for medication and decreased recovery times. Designers are now asking how we can better leverage these same elements to benefit the wellbeing of the nursing staff.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | Collaborating on the Holodeck: Virtual Reality and the Immersive Design Process

Collaborating on the Holodeck: Virtual Reality and the Immersive Design Process

One of the biggest barriers that designers face when collaborating with various stakeholders in a project is the ability to convey design ideas to decision makers. While architects and designers are highly trained to visualize 3D spaces from 2D drawings and scale models, many clients will struggle to comprehend how some decisions will become manifest in the physical world. This can lead to costly and time-consuming errors, especially if changes need to be rectified later in the planning or building stages.

While 3D modelling software overcomes some of these limitations by providing more detailed, accurate models, Virtual Reality (VR) technology can take computer-generated modelling to the next level. Combined, these technologies offer clients and design teams the ability to make decisions in real time from anywhere in the world. Decision making can happen faster and more confidently without the need for constant in-person meetings and site inspections throughout the design and construction process.

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© Parkin Architects Ltd. | Addressing COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Future of Prison Healthcare

Addressing COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Future of Prison Healthcare

As the second wave of COVID-19 hammers communities around the world, governments and health organizations are working to diminish risk in our most vulnerable populations. Prisons pose particular challenges for staff, policymakers, and designers alike. Much like long-term care facilities that are experiencing devastating breakouts, prisons by nature are enclosed spaces that render social distancing difficult—especially when respiratory infections like COVID can spread readily.

COVID-19 is a threat to the people who live and who work within prisons. Staff members also risk inadvertently spreading the virus to their families and communities. Tackling the unique issues that prisons face can improve the well-being of those living and working in prisons and communities—today and into the future.

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