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Healthcare Design Trends to Watch in 2021 and Beyond

Healthcare Design Trends to Watch in 2021 and Beyond

2020 was a very difficult year for the healthcare industry as they were faced with so many new challenges, mainly stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Because of the nature of the highly contagious virus, last year saw some major changes to the design of healthcare facilities, and these changes are likely here to stay. Here are some trends for healthcare construction that the experts expect to continue through 2021:  


1. The Need for More Space  


Healthcare facilities have seen an influx of patients and are realizing that they need more room to accommodate the higher number people seeking care. This need for space can take shape in many different ways, but the main two which we have seen is in widening hallways and enlarging rooms.  


Lots of hospitals are quite large, but you may have noticed that they have fairly narrow hallways. This hasn’t been a big problem in the past, but with the easily transmittable coronavirus around, facilities need to widen their hallways so that patients aren’t crossing paths too closely. Another way to combat this issue is to design more efficient pathways through the building to reduce the amount of people who walk past each other. An example of this would be to designate certain hallways as one way. Widening hallways can be a very expensive renovation, so designing better pathways through the building is a good way to reduce the spread of viruses from patient to patient.  


In addition to wider hallways, healthcare facilities are also noticing a need for more space in general and larger rooms. Hospital rooms need to be able to facilitate more people comfortably and safely, with an appropriate amount of space for social distancing.  


Another trend that helps add space that is expected to continue is flexible facility layouts. Adding dividers or other means of safely separating people is a much cheaper option than fully renovating existing spaces. Adjustable room formats, including mobile equipment like medical carts and tables is a trend that is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond.  


2. Larger Use of Automation in Healthcare Facilities 


New technology is becoming more and more accessible and affordable, and automation technology will continue to boom in healthcare facilities. Whether its automatic opening doorways, touchless faucets and hand sanitizer dispensers, or something else, this trend will surely continue in 2021 and beyond. Additionally, automatic doors come with other benefits besides just reducing the spread of viruses and diseases. These doors can be remotely locked and unlocked, or can require ID to open, meaning that in emergency situations it can be easier to direct patients and staff where they need to go. 


Any way that we can reduce the number of surfaces that patients must touch when going to the hospital is being assessed. With the new awareness of germ and bacteria spread from the COVID-19 pandemic, automation is definitely here to stay. 



3. Safer Waiting Room Areas that Allow for Social Distancing


Waiting rooms in hospitals can get overly crowded and uncomfortable, but we expect this to change in 2021. The coronavirus has opened our eyes to the need for social distancing, especially within our healthcare facilities where people go with various infections and diseases. Waiting rooms must be updated to allow patients to feel comfortable and safe while waiting for their appointment. 

The main concern with waiting room design is that people can be too close to each other, and the longer the wait times, the longer that multiple people will be in close proximity, and the higher the chance of transmitting a virus or disease to one another. So the first change that we expect to see is more space in waiting rooms to allow patients to spread out and allow for social distancing. 

The other factor is that waiting rooms must be easily sanitized and disinfected after patients leave. This means we will likely see an increase in the use of anti-microbial materials in chairs, couches, and other furniture in these spaces. The tricky matter is to provide comfortability to the facility’s visitors while they wait, but to also provide the best safety measures. This could mean a change in the style of seating to provide less armrests in order to dissuade people from touching many different spots. Regardless of how each facility decides to handle it, we can expect a safer and more spread out waiting room area to continue to trend in 2021.


4. Better HVAC Systems


HVAC systems are essential in large buildings including hospitals, but if used incorrectly they can lead to the spread of airborne diseases and viruses throughout the facility. In 2021, we will likely see healthcare facilities investing in upgrading their HVAC systems in order to prevent the spread of germs. There are already high standards in healthcare HVAC, but it is possible that the experts will consider a re-standardization of the HVAC systems used in healthcare facilities after seeing how a super contagious virus like COVID-19 has been able to spread through them. Without a doubt, hospitals and other healthcare facilities will continue updating HVAC systems to ensure the safety of their staff and patients. 

2020 was a defining year for the healthcare industry. With all the bad things that happened throughout the year, there are some silver linings, and one of them may be the advancements that healthcare facilities have made to make it safer for patients to get care. While not all of the trends we’ve seen throughout the last year will continue after a return to normalcy, the healthcare industry will surely never be the same. A big emphasis has been put on the safety of patients no matter what may come our way, and the hospitals will be much better prepared to face a global pandemic in the future



As a supplier to the healthcare industry, Lakeside Manufacturing stays on top of news and trends in healthcare, and is here to provide hospitals with any equipment they need to take their services to the next level. 

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How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

Pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan.

Many have prepared for emergencies like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or mass shootings, but a pandemic was not on the list for the near future. Since being prepared is key to any good action plan, a lot of pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan. Nonetheless, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with response plans created to anticipate the worst, respond immediately, and adapt to the inevitable changes to come. Circumstances differ from hospital to hospital due to location and outbreak, but food service leaders are working hard to keep providing food to patients and staff. Continue reading How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

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Did Someone Order Delivery? In-Room Service Gains Traction

In-Room Service Gains Traction Amongst Hospitals & Care Facilities Across The Country

The limitations and closures of gathering points in hospitals due to COVID-19 have impacted in-room service. However, special attention to in-room service was gaining traction well before the pandemic began. Doctors have always said food can be more than fuel for your body, and with the right nutrients, it can help in the healing process too. Some hospitals are using that concept, as well as patient experience, to change the stereotypes of hospital food for the better and improve patient satisfaction.  Let’s take a look at three healthcare facilities in particular that have started to take a more hospitality-inspired approach to in-room service.


Open 6:45 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., UCLA offers a restaurant ordering system where the kitchen cooks meals on-demand with menus updated to physician requested, plant-based meals with protein optional additions. Regularly scheduled tray service is still available to neuropsychiatry patients, which is why UCLA’s kitchen is separated into two sections to cater to both types of services.

Keeping in mind there is a 90-minute window between mealtimes, UCLA staff alternates between making and sending 25 trays to 1 unit in neuropsychiatric care and cooking and delivering room service tickets. This staggered approach has eliminated many challenges associated with offering both services.

Room service at UCLA is promised to arrive within 45 minutes but averages 28 minutes. What’s their secret? Food lifts.

Each floor has a dedicated cart with a timer for seven minutes. The cart is wheeled into the lift,  sent up to its designated floor, and the patient is immediately notified. To ensure quality, the cart enters into a pantry where hot and cold additions are added just before being taken to the patient, and the meal is delivered with food and drinks at the correct temperatures.


John Hopkins offers Hotel-style, on-demand room service to their patients. They name this style of service the Johns Hopkins At Your Request program. Doctors realized there was a lot of food waste when they had patients ordering the day before, resulting in many being unavailable to receive their meals.

The John Hopkins At You Request program gives patients the flexibility to order their meals anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and receive it within 60 minutes. To better accommodate nutritional diets prescribed to patients, John Hopkins also provides a nutritional department to help assist in meal decisions. Their diverse menu options are a significant factor in the success of the program.

The freedom to choose between traditional hospital foods like meatloaf and upscale items like salmon makes the patient feel satisfied with their meal experience, even when they don’t order the extravagant items. In fact, the majority stick with the traditional items, while the occasional upscale orders bring comfort to patients and family members who need it.


St. Jude’s primary focus is on young patients and their families. Patients aren’t limited to in-hospital care, as many of their outpatients go through treatment at nearby housing sponsored by St. Jude and receive their customized meals there. They use a Combi Oven to deliver quality food within expectations of 30 – 45 minutes. As for their future plans for servie? They’re expected to upgrade their systems to TV-operated ordering services and explore newer cooking technologies. Nonetheless, their specialty is in the services they provide.

Considering the age of their patients, their happiness is a priority. The chef often greets patients with a hug and smile, with meals that are fully specialized to encourage the patient to eat and heal. So much so, that patients have even gone to the kitchen to teach the chefs how to make their food!