Flexible Unit: Article Analysis

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Introduction The article, “Inpatient Unit Flexibility Design Characteristics of a Successful Flexible Unit” was written by Pati, Debajyoti, Tom Harvey, and Carolyn Cason. The article is based on a study which was done to explore the flexibility needs in an adult medical-surgical inpatient facility with the aim of understanding its meaning from the perspective of the end-user; and identify those characteristics in the physical environment which impede or promote the requirements of stakeholders. In the article, the authors outline a brief history of flexibility in healthcare design, stating that all discussion on the subject have been focused at the overall hospital level but hardly at the inpatient unit level. As such they chose to focus their study at the inpatient level as a result of its growing importance.
In order to be able to articulate the flexibility needs in the inpatient care, the authors decided to conduct their investigation based on the knowledge of flexibility from the viewpoints of the different stakeholders in the care delivery process. They hence approached the problem with the aim of knowing the meaning of flexibility to the different stakeholders involved; the physical design variables defined by stakeholders as being of impact to their flexibility; and the characteristics of inpatient care unit
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Moreover, there are nine critical operational issues affected by physical design characteristics where flexibility is required, namely; respiratory therapy, pharmacy, dietary services, materials management, nursing and environmental services. With findings showing that priority has been on priority has been more on convertibility and expandability, the authors suggest that flexibility should be accorded the same importance as convertibility and expandability, as it is equally crucial for inpatient
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