HFR Fribourg, Switzerland

Thanks to Silentia our open space floor plan is more flexible.

How do you organize the best possible patient flow in an intensive care unit? “Silentia’s folding screens inspired our staff to find the best combination between open spaces and private rooms.”

“Choosing Silentia’s folding screens helps us to be more open in reconsidering the way we organize ourselves. It helps lead us to new ideas,” says Gilles Jégou, Clinical Expert at the Intensive Care Unit C at HFR Fribourg – Hôpital cantonal, in the city of Fribourg.

The Silentia folding screen has both brightened up the unit and retained privacy for the patients.

“Many patients make the comment that our ward is brighter, thanks to the translucent panels letting in the natural daylight. Also the panels reduce the feeling of being enclosed, allowing the patients to have privacy without feeling closed in.”

While planning their new intensive care unit Gilles Jégou and his colleagues researched different design concepts for the intensive care environment.

“The open space concept gives quick patient access, optimal patient overview, but has problems with the noise level. On the other hand, the private room concept gives maximum privacy, but requires more space in total and is not as flexible in caregiver and personnel interactions. Everything has been studied and taken into consideration regarding flow, patient frequencies, equipment and caregivers. Our final decision was to create a mix of both concepts,” says Gilles Jégou.

The new intensive care unit is organized with 2 four-bed rooms, 1 two-bed room and 2 one-bed rooms for isolation. The front part of the unit is for patients with short stays, for example cardiology-patients. The areas in the back of the unit are for patients who stay longer, for example patients in isolation or with strokes.

In the open space areas the Silentia folding screens are excellent in providing privacy while still providing an overview for the staff.

“Before, we used to pull out the curtains and close everything. Now the screens are folded in for normal situations and are easy to pull out to allow for privacy when it is needed. It is safer, as we still have visual contact with the monitoring, because the height of the screens is just perfect. Today we can perfectly fulfil the recommendations of the Swiss Society for Intensive Medicine and still have a perfect overview. This positively influences teamwork and dynamics. We have an open space which can be screened off and be very flexible.”

“The screens are easy to use. They are much more flexible than curtains: When we need more space we just move them to enlarge the available space. The screens do not transform the four-bed rooms into one-bed rooms. They simply deliver the privacy needed while keeping the advantages of the open space concept,” says Gilles Jégou.

He points out, that the screens do not interfere with any other equipment. They leave plenty of room for equipment mounted in the ceiling such as lifting hoist systems, medical equipment and lighting. The screens are mounted to floor poles and can be pulled out in all directions.

“At first sight I had some doubts about the floor anchoring of the folding screens. However, the poles on the floor allows us to mark the different zones better than with using mobile screens on trolleys, because they would be moved around. The screen mobility with the floor poles gives us all the flexibility we need. A simple click with the foot allows us to easily open or close the space.”

Hygiene is an important issue in the intensive care unit. Silentia’s folding screens are easy and fast to clean which helps maintain a constant and high level of hygiene.

“Curtains are a bad solution. From a hygiene point of view, the fabrics of the curtains are banned. Before, we had to call the cleaning staff, they arrive with their footstool, take the curtains down, and replace them after they are cleaned. This is time-consuming and inconvenient. The folding screens however, are the easiest to use and clean. They can be cleaned like any other surface. We love how they fold without hinges; it makes the cleaning so much easier. Furthermore, we made sure to position the poles so that we can mop the surrounding floor.”

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