COVID19 Update from NK Architects Healthcare Studio

April 14, 2020

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This AIA National Map Indicates States with the Good Samaritan Law to protect architects who perform volunteer work, especially now when we participate in assisting the Covid-19 effort.

COVID19 Update from NK Architects Healthcare Studio

RE: COVID19 – Ben Lee, AIA, ACHA

NK Architects has been assisting the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHC) to identify and evaluate potential sites to increase hospital bed capacities during the surge of COVID19. Since mid-March, our health care team were assigned a newly constructed Assisted Living Facility for COVID19 patients. As Health Care Architects, our assessment and recommendations have to be comprehensive. Too often non-clinicians perceive any bed as sufficient to accommodate the surge. The evaluation needs to consider what is the appropriate level of patient that can be treated in such a facility. What are the available testing, diagnostic imaging and treatment equipment such as the crucial need for ventilators. We must consider that a COVID19 patient may come in with mild symptoms but progress to critical condition very quickly. Over the years NK has been designing “Universal Beds” in hospitals in additional to ICU beds to ensure the continuing of care in-place without transfering patients. Coordinated mechanical and electrical systems are crucial to prevent cross contamination and emergency power throughout the entire facility. We must provide protection for health care workers to provide them with adequate workspace, connection to Electronic Health Records and a safe environment.

We are performing these evaluations on a voluntary basis. AIA NJ members are very fortunate to have the Good Samaritan Laws passed few year ago, but New York does not have a definitive law in place. Our New Jersey and New York Governors are trying their best with limited assistance from the Administration. Unfortunately, the NY/NJ metropolitan area is at the frontline fighting Coronavirus. In times of war we need to support the frontline of defense by allocation the appropriate resources. The United States has spent 18%  of our GDP on health care in comparison to about 11% or less for the European and other developed countries. This pandemic will be a true test of how well we perform in the final outcome. Therefore, health care is a social responsibility that we need to embrace for all the people around the world.

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