Architecture can prevent infections in hospitals. The walk-in model of a new type of patient room shows how this can be done. It was developed by a team from the fields of architecture, medicine and molecular biology in the KARMIN research project.
After the prototype was presented to the public last year on the grounds of the Charité in Berlin, the patient room is now to become an application-oriented research and study laboratory under the leadership of the Institute of Construction Design, Industrial and Health Care Building (IKE) of the TU Braunschweig, the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST and the Braunschweig Municipal Hospital.
In the two-bed room of the KARMIN research project, the beds are placed opposite to each other instead of next to each other.
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The infection-preventive two-bed room of the KARMIN research project relies on clever spatial planning to minimize the transmission of dangerous pathogens in hospitals. For example, the researchers have planned two separate bathrooms. The beds are placed opposite to each other instead of next to each other. The number of disinfection dispensers was increased and the routing for hospital staff was optimized. The aim is to raise the already high hygiene standards in the hospital room even further - an extremely important aspect in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, but also in connection with multi-resistant pathogens.
Together with the experts from the hospital, the scientists from TU Braunschweig and Fraunhofer now want to develop further practical model solutions for hospital architecture. These include materials, surfaces and equipment elements that are easy to clean and thus help to contain dangerous germs. In this context, sensors and new innovative cleaning systems that quickly identify and automatically remove germ contamination will also be tested.
In the research and study laboratory, the researchers want to test the extent to which new products and functional materials are suitable for use in a hospital room and make them tangible for different user groups - for example from treatment, care, cleaning and supply and disposal. Which disinfection dispensers are suitable and where they should best be placed in the room are examples of questions that need to be answered. Another central aspect concerns the lighting in the room: where should the light be installed, how can it be controlled and operated? Solutions will also be offered for this. The investigations in the demonstrator will be accompanied by the construction of a cyber system that, in addition to monitoring energy and material flows for economic analyses, can also be equipped with elements that monitor the patient's vital parameters to ensure optimized patient care.
The cooperation is planned for at least five years and will take into account the constant change in the care sector. New developments in medicine, changes in societal demands as well as advances in architecture, construction and material sciences will be incorporated into the work.
The cooperation partners want to set up the model patient room in September 2021 on the grounds of the Braunschweig Municipal Hospital in Naumburgstraße. This is primarily intended to provide medical staff with access for practical examinations.