Configuration Of

The physical configuration of the ASU has implications for patient care. In the setting of such units as the medical, surgical, or coronary care ICU, the patient is placed in proximity to devices necessary for revival and treatment. The overall goal of the ASU is to observe the patient with monitoring devices that result in the early detection of clinical decline. In the ASU, there is no electronic apparatus that accurately detects the onset of a stroke. Thus, architectural design that emphasizes visibility and easy access to the patient is essential for optimal care, e.g., configurations, in which one nurse can easily observe four patients, who are always in his/her line of sight and can be reached with relatively few steps. In a closed ward configuration, in which each patient is housed in a single room, frequent neurologic evaluations are required in the acute phase of illness to appropriately monitor the patient. The most important element in any ward situation is the matching of an appropriately trained nurse to the afflicted patient. In many hospitals today, the ability to house like patients together is limited, which we believe creates a less-than-optimal care environment.

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