Page 12 — Health Care & Senior Housing Quarterly — April 2021 HEALTH CARE — CONSTRUCTION 7340 E Caley Ave, Suite 210W, Centennial, CO 80111 A s a Colorado commercial real estate professional, you have probably noticed significant changes in the way your clients are doing business during the COVID-19 pan- demic. Social distancing, masks, shielding and hand sanitation have become commonplace and are likely to remain with us in some fashion for at least the next few months. Health care sites from medical office buildings to sprawl- ing research and treatment cam- puses have been especially rigorous in implementing safety precautions. Many of those safeguards will carry over to facilities that are newly built, remodeled or retrofitted. n How will hospital construction look post-COVID-19? It has become painfully apparent that hospitals need systems that give them the flexibility to set up isolation units or “pandemic zones” so they can simultaneously accommodate large numbers of patients with critical, acute and nonacute needs. The unimaginable and sustained surge in emergency department and critical care facility use during COVID-19 has pointed out the need for what might have been termed redundancy a year ago, but now defines informed readiness. Pandem- ics of this scope may (or may not) be 100-year events, but preparedness for the eventuality should be foremost in every facility planner’s mind. A survey by the American Col- lege of Health Architects highlighted some important considerations for future facility design and construc- tion: • Designing hos- pitals so normal operations and elective procedures are not disrupted during crisis patient loads; • Designing facil- ity internal traffic flow to control cross-contamina- tion; • Building eas- ily modifiable facilities that allow rapid response to changing medical priorities; and • Designing facilities to handle patient overflow more expediently. In addition, highly sophisticated HVAC systems will be critically important to control air move- ment in a way that minimizes the spread of pathogens from one area to another. Techniques like bipo- lar ionization, strategically placed ultraviolet lighting and ultrahigh- efficiency filters are among the options being implemented. n How will senior living and assisted living construction look post-COVID-19? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 an estimated 73 million baby boomers will be over the age of 65. Continuing the trend of the past few decades, even more of those baby boomers will seek liv- ing spaces that are more convenient and easier to manage than the suburban homes where they raised their children. Senior housing typically has been marketed as “resorts for seniors,” with a full range of luxury ameni- ties, common spaces, social activi- ties and personal services, with less marketing emphasis on the facil- ity’s health care aspects. But future senior living facilities are likely to emphasize their improved con- struction, state-of-the-art HVAC and filtration systems, built-in sanita- tion and safety features, touchless doors, ample outdoor living space, and expansive but intimate com- mon areas. Physical building modification, construction and detailed plan- ning will serve residents’ personal as well as emotional needs, espe- cially during times of crisis. How to engage residents who are confined to their rooms for extended peri- ods; how to help residents schedule appointments, access information or connect with the outside world; and how to track patients and resi- dents as they move about the facil- ity are all concerns that have taken on new importance post-pandemic. n Telehealth . Telehealth is com- ing into its own. The concept has been gaining increasing acceptance over the past decade or so in rural areas, where local practitioners and patients can consult remotely over closed-circuit TV with experts in major teaching or specialty cen- ters. With COVID-19, telehealth has become more widely used in urban Lasting facility construction practices & policies Tyson Graff Senior project manager, Haselden Construction Pandemics of this scope may be 100-year events, but preparedness for the eventuality should be foremost in every facility planner’s mind. Please see Graff, Page 16