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These guidelines are the first revision of the original publication of 1998. They are designed to assist clinicians, planners and architects in producing a design for an emergency department which is of adequate size and contains adequate facilities to fulfill its role. As emergency departments have high
patient turnover, varied casemix and a large workforce, their design is crucial to their function. Emergency departments must be planned with due consideration for the potential for growth and expected changes in health care delivery.
Current and potential models of care must be considered. Key considerations include safety and security, amenity, access, image and consumer expectations, and evolving work practices. This paper was produced with the input of many people who have direct experience with ED design or redevelopment. The guidelines are based on extensive consultation and research, including results of design and equipment surveys from more than 60 emergency departments over 15 years and detailed evaluation of plans of existing departments.
Recommended sizes for various spaces are expressed in relation to departmental activity. In general, a combination of activity (number of attendances), acuity (types of attendances) and the desired performance level (waiting times and access block) determine the amount and type of space required. In addition, workforce is broadly proportional to activity. Therefore staff area sizes are also related to departmental activity.
These guidelines are based on current Australasian conventional emergency department practice but do include reference to variations in service models that have been incorporated into recent designs. The best outcomes will be achieved if there is close consultation and collaboration between managers,
emergency department clinicians and architects in designing emergency department facilities. Consumer involvement at key review points is highly desirable. An image gallery of contemporary facilities is provided for illustrative purposes only.
This is a living document which will evolve as emergency medicine develops.