Critical Care New Builds

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and Intensive Care Society have collated a list of 'lessons learnt' during the planning and building stages of a new critical care unit. 

The recurring answers to the questions of 'what worked well' and 'what would you do differently' can be found in the boxes below. If you would like further information, please see the full responses in the related downloads section.


What worked well in the new design

General Facilities
  • Sharing facilities with other Critical Care units (e.g. general and neuro ICU) as this helps with cross cover staffing and additional beds when needed
  • Increased storage space
  • Open plan
  • Waste points
  • Single sex accommodation
  • Natural light
  • Electronic blink glass
  • Pendant systems
  • Ability to separate into different zones if necessary and for each zone to work independently
  • Increased space around beds
  • Single rooms now available
  • Sink at access end of bed for hand washing
  • Floor colour change around bed space for improved infection control practices
  • Built in hoisting
Relatives' Facilities
  • Improved facilities for relatives, including overnight accommodation

Staff Facilities

  • Office space/meeting rooms/staff rooms
General Advice
  • Encourage clinical team to work with architects


What could be done differently

  • Poor visibility in some areas due to existing/necessary structure e.g. supporting columns
  • The unit is spread over a large area and can be difficult to cover for staff
  • There is poor storage for patient property; we rely on using storage lockers
  • Wider doorways into rooms should have been installed
  • The unit has hot-desking rather than dedicated offices
  • There is a lack of noise control on the unit
  • Additional storage for larger devices and beds not in use would have been useful
  • Consultant offices are not on the unit; it would have been more convenient if they were
  • A lack of air conditioning in non-clinical areas reduces flexibility and occasionally staff morale
  • Ensure size of rooms is appropriate Include as many electrical sockets are installed as possible
  • Ensure the bed is positioned appropriately in relation to electrical sockets/gases
  • Ensure the clean/drug rooms are positioned so that staff can still see patients
  • Install an intercom system
  • More glass walls instead of blinds to increase visibility
  • Additional office and storage space


Want to know more?
Browse our Standards pages.