Inpatient Unit Flexibility: Design Characteristics of a Successful Flexible Unit
This study explored flexibility needs in adult medical-surgical inpatient care with the aim of understanding its meaning from an end-user perspective, as well as identifying the characteristics in the physical environment that promote or impede stakeholders’ requirements. We used a qualitative design and conducted semi-structured interviews with 48 stakeholders in nursing and nursing-support services at six hospitals across the US. The findings suggest that adaptability influences more aspects of unit operations than convertibility or expandability. Furthermore, physical design characteristics impact on nine critical operational issues where flexibility is required, spanning nursing, environmental services, materials management, dietary services, pharmacy and respiratory therapy.