Designed by community: The Intensive Care Unit of the Future
The “Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Future” project is a global initiative, led by The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) Critical Care Research Group. The project uses a collaborative co-design approach, putting patients at the centre of ICU design.
The purpose is to fundamentally redesign the ICU environment incorporating the patient’s needs and wishes to improve survival rates, the recovery experience and quality of life beyond the hospital.
The project team of clinicians and researchers (including nursing, allied health, psychology, psychiatry and intensive care specialists), have worked closely with patients, family members and world leading industry partners such as Philips, Getinge, Ascom and Lendlease, to reconceptualise intensive care, co-designing an ultra-modern recovery focused ICU bedspace.
From inception, the project focus has been grounded in co-design principles, ensuring the voices of patients, families and clinicians are included at all phases of problem identification and solution design. Participants were identified by previous and current ICU admissions, then were approached to contribute to the project in a way that worked for them. For example, some patients participated in a two-day forum to share first-hand experiences of extended ICU admissions, identifying problems and supporting the development of solutions. A project member with extensive clinical experience in the ICU, but no involvement in the care of participants, led the co-design ensuring the context of all participant contribution and feedback was understood.
Most of the consumer engagement activities were conducted as conversations, allowing participants to freely express their thoughts, experiences, and feedback. All were encouraged to discuss their main concerns. Putting information together from multiple perspectives allowed the project team to develop a priority list of problems and associated solutions. To ensure the project team understood consumers’ perspectives a summary of the discussions was presented back to participants in subsequent individual meetings, allowing them to recommend any changes, add themes or suggest problems that had been missed.
The project is still ongoing and is expected to be completed in 2022. Interested participants are still involved, and their contribution will continue until the end of the project. The project manager is planning to meet with these participants approximately every 2-3 months until project completion to ensure relevant feedback is received and opportunities to assist with co-design continues until project completion.
The project is being implemented in 2022, with two ICU bedspaces being rebuilt at TPCH and opening in December. This will be followed by an evaluation. Interested participants are still involved, and their contribution will continue until the end of the project. The project manager has been meeting with these participants approximately every 3 months to ensure relevant feedback is received and opportunities to assist with co-design continues until project completion.