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Hospital Washrooms

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The design of a toilet/washroom/restroom, however small or big, commonly has to take care of some of the basic elements like accessibility, ventilation, lighting, counters, WC position, space and fixtures. While a hotel washroom and a hospital toilet are similar in many counts, there are distinct features that have to be in place where hospital washrooms are concerned.

A patient room toilet is the most important of all toilets in any hospital. “The location of the toilet in the patient room is an important aspect in washroom design. In most hospitals, the shafts are taken inside towards the corridor and the toilets are in the inward side. One of the basic requirements of any toilet for that matter is ventilation and that is the reason why, the toilet comes on the inward side,” says Anuja Sawant.

Ideally in a hospital, two toilets are placed back to back. Toilets are in the 6ft x 9ft dimension. Right at the door entry of the toilet could be the WC and the remaining area could be kept the bath area.

While, the bath area in a hotel would have a shower panel or a bath tub, a patient room toilet should have simple tap fixtures and space. “The hospital bath has to have a facility where the nurse could bathe the patient. Secondly, the toilet door opening space has to be one metre wide besides the space for the frame and shutter. This is larger than the normal size mainly to allow even a wheel chair to enter into the toilet.”

While, the bath area in a hotel would have a shower panel or a bath tub, a patient room toilet should have simple tap fixtures and space. “The hospital bath has to have a facility where the nurse could bathe the patient. Secondly, the toilet door opening space has to be one metre wide besides the space for the frame and shutter. This is larger than the normal size mainly to allow even a wheel chair to enter into the toilet.”

A modification in hospital toilet could be the introduction of chamfer, which also gives a little vestibule space and a compact planning for the room. This largely depends on the medical team inputs at the design stage. “In this design, the door opening could be made at the chamfer or could be a normal opening in the vestibule just like in a hotel.”

One other vital aspect in hospital design is the proper sloping and water proofing. “At the time of constructing the toilet we use pre-stress slabs, post-Asian slabs or flat slab and at that time it is not possible to fold the slab with the sinking. A proper slope and a chemical coating are a must for the toilet. Hence, after the chemical water proofing, the screeding is done to give adequate slope.”

Apart from the design and location of the hospital toilet, the second aspect is the interiors which include the material, finish and colour scheme. The tiles, the sanitary ware, countertop fittings and other fixtures are equally important. “The walls have to have a smooth finish with minimum joints. The joints again should be kept to the minimum in order to avoid moss formation leading to contamination.”

Flooring is another important aspect keeping in mind the patients’ safety. “Flooring should not be slippery and I would suggest a matt finish floor rather than a smooth finish.” The choice of colour for the tiles/walls in hotels/residences could be on a darker note but in hospitals white or any light pastel shade should be used. “And if one adds a tinge of colour, the toilets will come alive.” White tiles give the hospital toilet a clean look, serene and happy.

The commonly preferred material for the door frame is wood. But Stone frames are better as they are easy to clean and maintain. The shutters, on the other hand, could be of materials like FRP which are lighter. Alternately, one could also go for any other flush doors with a laminate finish, as these shutters are sturdy and provides better cleaning prospects.”

In sanitary ware it is important to avoid wheezy shapes of WC or the ones having a lot of nooks and corners. A simple shape and probably a wall hung WC is the best for hospital toilets. With the ledge, which is made for the soil pipe, the S-type or the U-type makes the cleaning at that particular juncture difficult. The space for WC which is around 4.5ft with the WC being 8-9 inches x 1.5-2ft, the rest of the space makes good for the leg space required for the patient.

Keeping in mind the amount of water consumed in a toilet, the flush tanks could be fitted with the a quarter tank partition to avoid wastage. “One could also go for a concealed tank which fits within the ledge. There are options of 3lt and 6lt to choose from to use controlled amount of water.”

In the WC area of patient room, the provision of a grab bar close to the commode is a must. “There are very good quality grab bars with PVC coatings available in the market.” One could fix a grab bar in the vanity area. This grab bar could alternately be used for putting napkins, etc.” Again, patients should have provision to dry clothes; even a simple string or clothes line in the bathroom is always welcome for the patients. A washable curtain between the bath area and the WC area will keep the water from going everywhere.

Another must in the patient bathroom is the nurse calling system which comes handy when the patient feels giddy or needs help.

In case of vanities, there are readymade ceramic vanities available which are wider with smaller platform which can be used in hospital toilets. “Avoid glass as they are very difficult to maintain. Further, keeping patient safety in mind, glass could cause more damage in case a patient falls and hits the glass. Other options like natural stone or granite platform with counters and washbasin could also be considered. Again, it is better to avoid countertops as the joints could form grounds for moss formation or the height matching with the wheel chair could be a problem. Hence, it is better to go for the ready made ceramic vanities.

In the bath area, the use of diverters or shower panels especially in India are not that user friendly as the common people are not familiar with such gadgets. “Keep it simple. A two-way tap with spout is ideal, as most of the people are used to bathing into a bucket. Maintenance could become an issue with complex fittings.” The use of high-end counter top fittings in hospitals could be installed in the suites, as they would be used by premium patients.

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