Improper Use or Designation of Suites

For the efficient and effective care of patients, it is better for rooms in many areas of a health care facility to not open directly to the corridor. For example, intensive care units may be designed in a pod-like configuration with glass doors so that patients can be seen from a central nursing area. Emergency departments often have central nurse stations surrounded by patient care areas. Imaging departments may have irregular arrangements to accommodate the types of technology used, patient flow, and individual waiting and dressing rooms for different diagnostic areas.

The Life Safety Code® provides for the use of suites in existing and new health care occupancies. A suite is a type of compartment, like a patient room, but it is typically larger and may contain several rooms. A suite can be thought of as a large room with partitions that subdivide it into smaller spaces. To most individuals, a suite may look like a hallway with rooms opening into it. But from a Life Safety Code perspective, a suite is much different from a corridor and rooms. Rooms and corridors within a suite are not subject to all of the requirements for corridors or individual patient rooms.

More resources will be added to this page throughout October and November 2015.

RISK – Defining Failure Modes

The improper designation of suites poses a significant increase of risk to patients by encouraging increased risk due to additional storage and equipment.  Properly designing, constructing, and maintaining suites allows for increased levels of life safety protection while allowing for increased storage and equipment use that can improve patient care.

IMPACT – Identifying Patient Outcomes

Rooms and corridors within a suite are not subject to all of the requirements for corridors or individual patient rooms. This allows for the placement of patient care equipment in close proximity of the patient care room, improving the speed of care delivery.  While this may seem to impede egress from the area, the use of suites requires an increase in life safety criteria such as direct visual oversight, smoke detection, and separation from other areas—thus providing increased life safety and improved patient care.

MITIGATION – Assessment Tools and Resources

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