Hospital Accident and Emergency Departments: Planning and Design (Department of Health)


This Department of Health report offers guidance on the new build, or redesign, of A&E departments. This comprehensive document reminds clinicians and planners that consideration for patients with dementia and their carers can contribute to their feelings of safety in an alien setting.

“Direct access to a single patient room should be considered. Consultation with patient liaison groups and reference to environments for those with dementia should be identified early in the design. Key questions related to performance measures include: Is the assessment reception large enough? Is there a staffed information desk? Does waiting have immediate access to food and liquids as well as accessible toilets? Is there access to outside space or views onto day-lit space?”. (p.40).

There is a bibliography grouped into themes, and one of these themes relates to older people (including patients with dementia and their carers), mental health, obesity. Section headings in this document comprise:

Part 1: Strategic Design.

  • Design guidance.
  • Introduction.
  • Whole system design.
  • Summary: a dialogue approach.

Part 2: Operational Design.

  • Who uses the A&E?
  • Pathway diagrams.
  • Insights into operational design.
  • Operational relationships.
  • What does the design team need?
  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • The project team’s perspective.
  • Performance.
  • Risk.
  • Resilience and adaptability.
  • Value for money.

Part 3: Building Design.

  • General design considerations.
  • Core facilities.
  • Example layout diagrams.
  • Case studies.
  • Checklists.
  • Additional information.
  • Bibliography of themes.

Full Text Link


Department of Health (2013). Health Building Note 15-01: accident and emergency departments planning and design guidance. London: Department of Health, 2013. (Health Building Notes [HBN]; this guidance replaces HBN 22 published in 2005).

Possibly Also of Interest…

This Design Council report shows the many benefits of design thinking and design-led techniques. Case study number five in this document illustrates how a design-led approach can help in reducing violence and aggression in accident and emergency services.

Full Text Link


Design for public good. London: Design Council, April 2013.

[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 7, May 2013].

The Design Council has published a report on the use of design for A&E environments to improve the patient experience, alleviate tensions in A&E departments and reduce risks to NHS staff.

Full Text Link


Reducing violence and aggression in A&E: through a better experience – an impact evaluation for the Design Council. London: Frontier Economics Ltd / Design Council, November 2013.

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Acute Hospitals, Department of Health, Enhancing the Healing Environment, For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), For Social Workers (mostly), National, NHS, Patient Care Pathway, Person-Centred Care, Quick Insights, Standards, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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