Guidelines for intensive care unit design. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To develop a guideline to help guide healthcare professionals participate effectively in the design, construction, and occupancy of a new or renovated intensive care unit. PARTICIPANTS: A group of multidisciplinary professionals, designers, and architects with expertise in critical care, under the direction of the American College of Critical Care Medicine, met over several years, reviewed the available literature, and collated their expert opinions on recommendations for the optimal design of an intensive care unit. SCOPE: The design of a new or renovated intensive care unit is frequently a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime occurrence for most critical care professionals. Healthcare architects have experience in this process that most healthcare professionals do not. While there are regulatory documents, such as the Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, these represent minimal guidelines. The intent was to develop recommendations for a more optimal approach for a healing environment. DATA SOURCES AND SYNTHESIS: Relevant literature was accessed and reviewed, and expert opinion was sought from the committee members and outside experts. Evidence-based architecture is just in its beginning, which made the grading of literature difficult, and so it was not attempted. The previous designs of the winners of the American Institute of Architects, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and Society of Critical Care Medicine Intensive Care Unit Design Award were used as a reference. Collaboratively and meeting repeatedly, both in person and by teleconference, the task force met to construct these recommendations. CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for the design of intensive care units, expanding on regulatory guidelines and providing the best possible healing environment, and an efficient and cost-effective workplace.

published proceedings

  • Crit Care Med

altmetric score

  • 21.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Thompson, D. R., Hamilton, D. K., Cadenhead, C. D., Swoboda, S. M., Schwindel, S. M., Anderson, D. C., ... Petersen, C.

citation count

  • 191

complete list of authors

  • Thompson, Dan R||Hamilton, D Kirk||Cadenhead, Charles D||Swoboda, Sandra M||Schwindel, Stephanie M||Anderson, Diana C||Schmitz, Elizabeth V||St Andre, Arthur C||Axon, Donald C||Harrell, James W||Harvey, Maurene A||Howard, April||Kaufman, David C||Petersen, Cheryl

publication date

  • May 2012