The Basics: Physical Environment & Equipment

A quick reference for improvements to environment and equipment

by Don Melady

Potential environmental improvements for any ED

Here is a checklist of basic changes and enhancements that can be done with minimal expenditure or changes. The easy ones are first; the harder, more expensive ones are later.

Equipment and supplies

Ensure easy, in-department access to:

  1. Non-slip socks
  2. Four-point walkers
  3. Canes
  4. Hearing assist devices (link to Pocket Talker)
  5. Bedside commode
  6. Condom catheters
  7. Blanket warmer
  8. Pressure-ulcer mattresses
  9. Some recline-able arm chairs
  10. Low beds

Physical Environment

  1. Large face analog clocks in each room
  2. Ample seating for visitors and family (at least 2 chairs in each room)
  3. Easy access to food and drink
  4. High-quality easy-to-read signage and way-finding
  5. Raised toilet seats (removable)
  6. Wheel-chair accessible toilets
  7. Efforts at noise reduction (separate enclosed rooms, noise-deadening curtains)
  8. Non-slip floors with no pattern
  9. Adequate hand rails
  10. Access to natural light