Healthcare DesignConsidered one of the top go-to sources for the healthcare industry, the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities will for the first time be divided into two separate documents that address in a more in-depth manner the needs and challenges of different types of healthcare facilities.

Published and created by the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI), the guidelines first appeared as the General Standards in the Federal Register in 1947 and are now revised every four years by a “multidisciplinary group of experts from the federal, state, and private sectors” to meet the developing needs of those involved in the design of healthcare facilities, according to the FGI website.

“What’s always impressed me about the guidelines is that it’s a consensus document,” said Sara O. Marberry, a writer, blogger, speaker and healthcare design knowledge expert, in a recent Healthcare Design Magazine blog post regarding the guidelines. “As members of FGI’s Health Guidelines Revisions Committee (HGRC), more than 125 volunteer healthcare and design professionals, researchers, and others allied to the field work on revisions during a four-year cycle … And if you count all the others who participate in specialty task groups that also contribute to the process, the number of volunteers is probably more than 300.”

Although there are many revisions and additions to the 2014 edition of the guidelines, the standout alteration is the division of this highly regarded reference material into the two following documents:

  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities
  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities

The latter document, a new standard by the FGI, “provides minimum recommendations for new construction and renovation of nursing homes, hospice facilities, assisted living facilities, independent living settings, adult day care facilities, wellness centers, and outpatient rehabilitation centers,” according to the FGI website.

James M. Hunt, AIA, a practicing architect and facility management professional with more than 30 years of experience, said in a recent Behavioral Healthcare Magazine blog post that the guidelines continue to play a major role in healthcare design and provide a “standard of care” for anyone involved in the design of a healthcare facility.

“I always advise clients to follow the standards of this document, even if it is not required in their location,” Hunt said in the blog post. “Doing so, in my opinion, shows that an appropriate level of care was exercised in the design of the facility.”

In particular, the guidelines provide recommendations on renovation, government regulations, building codes and standards, infection control risk assessment and countless other topics. And while the creation of a second document is the most obvious change, the guidelines contain several other alterations and additions worth review. For more information on the 2014 edition, visit the FGI website.

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