Turning inner space into outer space

February 1, 2011

Space and light make a big difference

One of the things that struck me about the rooms at the new intensive care unit at Royal Inland Hospital was how big they were. It seemed like a lot of space for a bed and a few pieces of equipment.

But then Dr. Tim Schmidt, the ICU director, explained what wasn’t so obvious: that extra space comes in handy. Equipment has to be moved around the floor. Other devices have to be brought out on booms. And of course you’ll have a number of staff in there making everything work. And the last thing want is for them to be tripping over wires in an urgent situation.

As I got Dr. Schmidt on video, I couldn’t help but notice something else: the lighting was terrible. At least it was terrible for someone trying to make a video. Sunlight streamed in from the outside, and ambient light made its way through windows in the side walls. For patients, this is actually a good thing. It lifts their spirits and helps them tell night from day. And of course you want the staff to be able to see what they’re doing.

Be sure to watch the video. Dr. Schmidt does a great job of explaining everything in just a few minutes.