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  1. Chambers, Misty MSN, RN, Assoc. AIA, EDAC
  2. Bowman, Ken L. BFA, IIDA, ASID, LEED(R) AP ID + C, EDAC


When selecting finishes and furnishings within a critical care unit, multiple factors can ultimately affect patient outcomes, impact costs, and contribute to operational efficiencies. First, consider the culture of the regional location, operations of the specific facility, and the recent focus on patient-centered care. The intention is to create an appropriate familiarity and comfort level with the environment for the patient and family. Second, safety and infection control are of utmost concern, particularly for the critical care patient with limited mobility. The planning and design team must be acutely aware of the regulations and guidelines of various governing agencies, local codes, and best design practices that can directly affect choices of finishes and furnishings. Flooring, wall, and window finishes, lighting, art and color, as well as furniture and fabric selection should be considered. Issues to address include maintenance, durability, sustainability, infection control, aesthetics, safety, wayfinding, and acoustics. Balancing these issues with comfort, patient and staff satisfaction, accommodations for an aging population, increasing bariatric needs, efficient operations, and avoidance of "never events" requires team collaboration and communication, knowledge of product advancements, a keen awareness of how environmental stimuli are perceived, and utilization of the best available evidence to make informed design decisions.