During the week of Oct. 3, a group of more than 50 people, including patient family members and Seattle Children’s employees representing both clinical and non-clinical areas of the hospital came together for an Emergency Department Design Event.

Their mission: To design a space that will meet the needs of patients, families and staff in Children’s new Emergency Department, part of the Building Hope expansion. More specifically, an ED that promotes a safe environment for patients, families and staff; and one that makes the best use of space, with appropriate and necessary supplies and equipment close at hand.

The team had a lot of things to consider in this week-long event. For starters, they had to consider how each of the things below would be incorporated into the new 37,000 square foot space:

• Exam and treatment rooms

• Patient toilets

• Staff support and work areas

• Imaging rooms, including support space

• Lobby, reception area, and public waiting space

• Communication service center

• Decontamination facilities

• Education lab

One of the most important goals of the design event was creating a space that promotes a safe and healing environment. Some of the team’s criteria for a successful space included:

• Having the ability to see and monitor patients

• A calm, quiet environment

• Reducing the number of distractions

• Reducing the risk of infections

• Facilitating safe, efficient preparation and administration of medications

It was also important to the team that the ED be designed around flexibility, so spaces can be adapted physically and functionally to respond to fluctuations in demand. They also wanted to incorporate space for decision-making and communication with families, and spaces that allow care to be brought to the patient rather than having to take the patient to the necessary therapy or resource.

Although there’s a lot more work to be done, we’re off to a good start! Next, full-scale mock-ups of areas in the new ED will be created in a warehouse so staff can try out the design. The first of these exercises will take place during the week of Oct. 31.