Comfort and aesthetics in the emergency department
Barona, an old settlement to the southwest of Milan, displays all the typical characteristics of unplanned suburban growth, including a jumble of residential and industrial buildings, ring roads and patches of countryside left to bear witness to the former agricultural landscape of the Po valley. One of the symbols of this process of additive growth without a coherent urban plan is the San Paolo Hospital, one of Milan’s most important medical facilities used to treat more than 500,000 citizens.
The building, which was constructed between 1964 and 1978, was designed by Carlo Casati, the architect behind several other major hospitals including the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Milan and the hospitals in Vimercate and Desio, which were also built during the same period.
New healthcare spaces
The hospital has undergone many changes over the years to adapt it to new models of treatment and healthcare. One of the latest projects was the first renovation phase of the emergency department, opened in July 2019.
The new San Paolo emergency department (ED) stands out for its larger and more comfortable spaces, new technology, greater safety and improved assistance. It has 12 examination rooms including six for medical treatment, two for orthopaedic services, two surgery rooms, one radiology room for critical patients and one room for psychiatric treatment, all with dedicated waiting rooms.
The hospital’s emergency department, which saw 78,300 admissions in 2018, is staffed 24 hours a day by specialist doctors who provide internal, surgical, paediatric, orthopaedic, radiological, psychiatric and gynaecological services. For minor emergencies there is a fast-track system in which patients are sent directly to the dermatology, ophthalmology or ENT departments. Following the inauguration of the new spaces, the San Paolo hospital now has an emergency area (including the ED, radiology and surgery areas) of 3,648 square metres.
Attractive, connected and comfortable
The project focused on patient comfort by providing easily accessible spaces and clear signage. Green and blue are the dominant colours used along the entire internal route from admission to diagnosis together with easily recognisable features such as an illuminated ceiling located at the intersection between corridors and photos of places and landscapes near the waiting areas. There are also PC and mobile phone charging stations, free Wi-Fi access and internal refreshment areas. All stretcher stations are equipped with a centralised system for monitoring patients’ vital parameters, complete with visual and audible alarms that allow doctors and nurses to constantly monitor patients’ clinical situation, whether they are in the examination rooms or the waiting rooms. The waiting areas are equipped with medical gas outlets, drip stands and a nurse call system and are monitored with a camera system that allows for remote patient supervision.
The examination area includes a treatment room for potentially infectious patients, where a filtration and pressurisation system has been installed to guarantee the necessary health and hygiene conditions.
Patient privacy is assured by curtains that separate the individual cubicles. The examination area also includes medical support rooms (nurse workstations, dirty/clean material store rooms, medicines and medical devices, herbal tea room) and administrative support rooms such as the CUP (appointment booking service), payment areas for “white coded” patients with minor injuries, offices and archives.
Safe and hygienic surfaces
Porcelain floor and wall tiles from Marca Corona were chosen for this innovative ED extension project due to their outstanding characteristics of safety, hygiene, durability and ease of cleaning.
The three collections chosen by the designers were installed in all areas of the new emergency department. The Arkistone stone effect porcelain floor tiles create a pleasant interplay of geometries and colour in the reception area, corridors, waiting rooms and all patient treatment rooms. In the staff areas, such as the offices and kitchen, Lagom wood-effect flooring and Colormix wall tiles were chosen in warm, neutral tones to convey a sense of intimacy and tranquillity. Colormix tiles are also used on the bathroom floor and walls but in original colour combinations.
Marca Corona, Arkistone
60x120, 60x60 cm
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): Ev ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): A
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 40 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant