March 18 2013

The Effects of Transport on Hospital Design and Location

Easy access to a hospital is vital to a good hospital design. When we say “easy access,” we are referring to the ease with which cars and ambulances can access a hospital, especially considering emergency situations. Is this easy access concept possible for Athens, Greece – a city of approximately ten million people? Athens’s residents live all over the city, from the congested center to the sparsely populated suburbs.

There are about twenty-five hospitals located in Athens city center, and less than this in the suburbs. The lowest number comes from the southern suburbs, which has a grand total of three hospitals.

KAT hospital in northern Attica

KAT hospital in Athens. It is located near a high traffic avenue. Greenery and trees protect patients from noise.

So just where is the best location for a hospital? Studies show that hospitals should be at least sixty meters from the road. If due to previous urban planning there is  no chance for this concept to be put to use there are some mesures in order to surpass this obstacle.

Below are some facts regarding a hospital’s sustainability:

  • Noise bothers not only patients, but it also adversely affects nurses and other health care staff and visitors;
  • Adult patients have linked excessive noise to sleep disturbance and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and stress.

In the short term, at existing hospitals, the most practical mitigation measures are often related to building or façade treatments. Curtains or shading systems are the most common as they provide glaze prevention and they also let in sunlight and heat to a tolerable level for patients. Regarding sound absorption, the most common and easy-to-apply measure is tree and other greenery planting in the hospital environment.

In the medium to longer term, strategies such as the following seem to benefit patients the most:

  • Regulation of exhaust noise;
  • Limitations on exhaust brake use;
  • Restricted access during sensitive times to reduce noise.

What about your city? Do the hospitals in your area meet the criteria for easy access and provide a beneficial environment to its patients?

Credits: Photo by Athina Kyrgeorgiou. Data linked to sources.

Athina Kyrgeorgiou

Athina Kyrgeorgiou graduated from National Technical University of Athens, Greece as a Civil Engineer with a specialization in Transportation Planning and Engineering. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and is always eager to learn about sustainable ideas and solutions for a better life in her city. A part of her research has been the impact of day-lighting patients’ rooms, which provided her the possibility to research further into bio-climatic design of buildings. She aims to continue her studies with a Master’s degree in transportation and sustainable development. Her blogs covered environmental issues and urban planning occurring in Athens, but also generally in Greece, trying to analyse them from an engineering point-of-view.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 9:33 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Infrastructure, Land Use. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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