Hospitals around the world lack space for COVID 19 patients. Globally an estimated 10 to 20 percent of all COVID-19 infections are among healthcare workers. Makeshift hospitals do not provide necessary protection and isolation, nor do they provide a healing environment for the patients. Healing units assist health care system in times of crisis by providing extra space, more protection to the medical staff and a better environment for patients.
Our solution is Healing units - foldable mobile prefabricated isolation wards.
A single occupancy Healing unit consists of 3 foldable blocks. We have design blocks with minimal part variance to ensure efficient production and multiple combination options. Double occupancy isolation ward is approximately 20.5 m2 big and has it’s own toilet and shower. A 40ft. containt fits nine foldable blocks and ensures that we can deliver 3 Healing units with a single container. Set up is simple and requires only 5 people and would take on average 20 -30 minutes. Prefabrication ensures cost savings, less production waste, time savings and greater productivity. No heavy machinery or a chaotic contruction site needed. Additional savings include costs reductions through simplified inspection, less labor needed as well as cheaper insurance due to less risks associated with offsite construction.
Prefabrication technology mostly uses sustainable materials and reduces construction waste, time and life-cycle cost. The main construction material is CLT (cross laminated timber). Since CLT panels can be manufactured using CNC equipment to precise tolerances, panel joints fit tighter, which results in better airtightness and energy efficiency for the structure. On average CLT panels costs 15 % less than certain concrete, masonry and steel building types. And they provide multiple environmental benefits. Wood is the only major building material that is renewable, and life cycle assessment studies consistently show that wood outperforms steel and concrete in terms of embodied energy, air pollution and water pollution. It also has a lighter carbon footprint. If the waste from CLT production is reused it is a 100% sustainable material. Units are insulated with mineral wool and covered with PVC membrane as outer layer. Materials were chosen not only based on their sustainability but also after deformation modeling and load and pressure calculations. Healing Units are designed according to Eurocode 5 to withstand snow loads up to 3.50 kN/m2 and wind speeds up to 30 m/s.
Patient and medical staff flows are separated to protect staff from infection and minimize their exposure as much as possible. Patients enter wards from outside directly from ambulances, while medical staff uses inner corridors to deliver care. Medical staff enter patient wards through anteroom where they can prepare for check up. Anteroom ensures balancing air pressure as medical staff enters the ward. Patient wards have negative pressure to prevent cross-contamination from room to room.
Our solution is flexible in it’s construction and layout. You can connect a wing of healing units to an existing hospital, place Healing units next to one, or build a full independent hospital in desired open space. And it can be tailored to all weather conditions. Healing Units maintain their flexibility even after the crisis is over. They can be disassembled and set back up in different configurations to serve other functions and create even bigger spaces. Flexibility also manifests itself in functionality - we see at least 3 alternative reuses of the units - refugee camps, military needs and even cabins.
Units have wide plexiglass windows that provide enough daylight crucial for maintaining patient circadian rhythm and preventing delirium. Research has proven that hospital staff have better health, job satisfaction and job performance in the presence of natural daylight,however, patients in a sunny bed have shorter hospital stays, on average 12h shorter and report less pain after surgery.
By providing Healing Units we can reduce the existing shortage of hospital beds and ICU beds whilst ensuring well-being of the patients, safety of the medical staff and sustainable resource use. We have analyzed available data for all EU countries on the relationship between a country's need for extra beds, ICU units and mortality rates as of April 2020. Based on that, we estimate that:
- to increase the number of ICU beds by 10% we need to provide approx. 2214 Healing Units or 106 Healing unit wings
- production cost = 501 EUR/m2, production costs for a Healing Unit wing = 260 520 EUR
- Total production cost for decreasing ICU bed shortage by 10% across EU = 27 615 120 EUR
- Scalability: estimated production rate =8 h/unit
We focus on the value, the United Nations goals and serving for other communicable disease treatment around the world after this one is over. We are thinking beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19. Not only Healing Units serve as a support infrastructure during the outbreak itself, but their flexible design and reuse possibilities allow them to address many different persistent and emerging health issues and can help us reach United Nations sustainable development goals:
- Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns