How Many Hospital Parking Spaces?

Paring LotHealthcare facilities need to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces for patients, staff, service traffic, and the public. At a minimum, parking standards or requirements developed by local authorities having jurisdiction should be consulted since these will reflect the availability of public transportation, public parking facilities, or other alternatives. This article provides some general rules-of-thumb for estimating the number of parking spaces for patients being admitted/discharged, visitors to inpatient nursing units, hospital staff, outpatients, and emergency patients and their escorts.

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Rethinking Parking Lots and Structures

When it comes to parking, hospitals seem to never have enough. At the same time, customers ― whether patients, staff, or visitors ― always want to park as close as possible to the their designated entrance. Because easy and convenient access is a prime indicator of hospital customer satisfaction, U.S. hospitals are rethinking the expansive asphalt parking lot and dreary concrete parking structure. Innovations in design, technology, and financing, along with careful planning, can mitigate shortages and improve customer convenience. Now with a global pandemic, parking lots and structures are also being called into action as part of an organization’s emergency response strategy.

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Estimating the Space Required for Central Sterile Processing

Estimating the size of a central sterile processing department based on the number of beds can be unreliable due to the wide variation in the scope of surgical, obstetrical, interventional, and ambulatory care services at any given hospital that are the primary users. However, many hospitals require only a basic instrument processing function with two steam sterilizers and one gas sterilizer. A third steam sterilizer may be provided at institutions with high-volume surgical and obstetrical services. The following guidelines can be used to develop a preliminary “order of magnitude” space estimate for a central sterile processing department. The lower range would be used for a central sterile processing function that is contiguous with the surgical suite. The higher range would accommodate a case cart system, the storage of hospital-wide patient equipment, and additional specialized sterilization equipment.

  • Minimal department with two steam sterilizers — 2,000 to 3,200 DGSF (185.8 to 297.3 DGSM)
  • Average department with two steam sterilizers and one gas sterilizers — 3,200 to 4,500 DGSF (297.3 to 418.1 DGSM)
  • Large department with three steam sterilizers and one gas sterilizers — 4,500 to 5,500 DGSF (418.1 to 511.0 DGSM)

Note: Department gross square feet/meters (DGSF/DGSM) represents the footprint of a department or functional component and includes the net area of the individual rooms as well as the space occupied by internal circulation corridors, walls/partitions, and minor utility shafts. More detailed information can be found in the SpaceMed Guide.

Estimating Space for Parking

The space required to accommodate parking lots and structures on a healthcare campus can be substantial. When it comes to staff parking, the space is greater than that required for his or her office. The guidelines shown below can be used for preliminary space estimates. WGI, Inc. — a parking specialty firm — cites an  average size of 334 gross square feet (GSF) or 31.0 gross square meters (GSM) per parking space and a median construction cost of $27,900 USD per space (2022) based on their database of hundreds of completed parking structures.

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Common Clinical Support Spaces

Whether a patient care area is used for patient exams and treatments, diagnostics, medical or surgical procedures, or for inpatient recuperation, associated space is needed to store and stage medical supplies, medications, nourishment, and equipment used in the department or nursing unit. These spaces are often referred to as “clinical support space” and are usually standardized throughout a healthcare facility. The generic rooms or areas listed in this article can be used for most patient care areas. The minimum sizes can generally support a wide range of exam/treatment rooms, procedure rooms, and inpatient beds. A further increase in workload or beds can usually be met with the addition of a second supply cart, bin, cabinet, etc. For very large departments or nursing units, an additional set of these spaces may be provided to reduce staff walking distances.

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