More than half of the rooms (boxes) that hospitals allocate to critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have insufficient dimensions so that professionals can carry out health care and care with all the health and safety guarantees, according to a study carried out by the Nursing Union, SATSEthroughout the State The study carried out by SATSE has analyzed the space conditions in certain rooms (ICU boxes, Pulmonology rooms in hospitals and extraction rooms in health centers) of about 200 health centers of the different autonomous communities, in order to have a more detailed knowledge of the current reality experienced by patients and professionals. Regarding the existing boxes in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs), a 52.20% of the spaces studied are inadequate, since their dimensions do not reach 16 square meterswhich is the optimal standard estimated in this study based on the health personnel working in these spaces (an average of four professionals) and the necessary furniture and equipment (headboard, bed, auxiliary table, necessary technology…) The study also concludes , that the spaces used as ICU boxes in hospitals are very heterogeneous and not all meet the characteristics recommended for patient care critical, nor do they facilitate possible isolation measures, “something that, without a doubt, peaked during the pandemic in which ‘uncommon’ spaces were set up to provide this special care (former emergency observation rooms, surgical areas…)” , Add. In health centers, the study of the Nursing Union has focused in the rooms where the extractions of biological samples, and of them, a 29.20% also have dimensions smaller than the optimal standard calculated.
In addition to being highly crowded, these are multipurpose spaces that are very often also used for other uses, which is why they tend to have an excess of furniture, in addition to not having a differentiated clean/dirty circuit, which hinders the work of professionals and also puts their safety and health at risk, as well as that of the patients. On the other hand, 37.90% of the double rooms in the Pneumology units of the hospitals studied do not have adequate dimensions either., a percentage that is reduced to 4.30% in the case of individual rooms, whose proper dimensions, according to estimates, are 9.73 square meters. Regarding these existing rooms in the Pneumology units, the study by the Nursing Union points out that there is no pre-definition in the occupancy of the rooms, and they can be single, double, and even triple, depending on demand. In addition, it is not always possible to individually isolate a moderate number of patients (at least in a third of the hospitals analyzed) and there is no studied and standardized structural design for Respiratory Intermediate Care Units which since the pandemic have housed many Pneumology hospitalization floors. Based on all these data, SATSE calls on the competent health administrations to allocate adequate funding so that these spaces, as well as the rest of those existing in hospitals, health centers and other health and social health centers, always have the adequate dimensions that allow professionals offer optimal care and that, in no case, put their health and safety and that of patients at risk.