BY MARK KOERS
When the decision is made to utilize temporary Mobile Cath Labs some of the most important factors to consider are patient safety and the route the patient will take through the hospital and out to the mobile lab. Unlike with other mobile labs, such as Mobile MRI and Mobile CT labs, where the patients can sometimes walk out or be pushed out to the mobile lab in wheelchair, patients going into the cath lab are not ambulatory and are usually taken out Mobile Cath Labs on a patient bed or a stretcher. Knowing this we always recommend trying to locate the mobile cath lab as close to the hospital as possible so as to have the shortest route to get the patient out to the mobile lab.
Some hospitals have a dedicated, covered, elevated mobile dock area where patients can be wheeled directly into the mobile lab without having to utilize the hydraulic patient lift on the mobile lab. The pop-out side extensions on Mobile Cath Labs are larger than with other mobile labs, which at time can pose a challenge with some dock-area setups, but when available the elevated docks are an ideal location because the route to the mobile has already been pre-planned and designed with patient safety in mind.
But what if there is no mobile dock? What if the mobile lab will sit away from the hospital where the patients could be exposed to the elements? These situations come up quite often and there are a number of factors that go in to determining whether to erect a covered walkway or not. The term length needed is one factor. If Mobile Cath Labs are only required for a short 4-week rental term, for instance, the decision might be to not cover the walkway out to the mobile lab and simply deal with any inclement weather that may come up. The time of year and location come into play as well. In the Summer a covered walk may not be needed, especially for a short-term project. Winters in the Upper Midwest, for instance, would usually require some type of covered walk. Although we have seen some hospitals – like this one below – against our recommendations think it’s ok to take their patients out in the elements in the wintertime.
COVERED WALKWAY, CANOPY
Another consideration would be to look at any state and/or local codes or regulations that may require things like a walkway, a covered walkway or a covered and enclosed walkway.
COVERED, ENCLOSED, CONDITIONED WALKWAY
The types of procedures that plan to be performed in Mobile Cath Labs are also a big factor to consider. For instance, if the mobile cath lab will be used only on occasion and for basic diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedures then it might be ok to wheel a patient out to the mobile lab with no covered walk. But sometimes we see Mobile Cath Labs being utilized during the renovation of a hospital’s one and only cath lab – serving as the primary cath lab needed to support a STEMI program and used also for both diagnostic and interventional procedures. In situations like these it is not uncommon for a hospital to decide to build out a covered, enclosed walkway with flooring, drywall, ceiling, lights, and HVAC – to make a physical corridor out from the hospital to the mobile cath lab. This creates a semi-sterile, conditioned space prior to opening the doors of the mobile cath lab and prevents things like fumes and bugs from entering the mobile lab which could happen if the door were opened and exposed to the outside elements. Below are pictures from a current customer with a long-term mobile cath lab project where they designed a very nice covered and enclosed corridor leading from the hospital out to the mobile cath lab. If you have questions about utilizing a Mobile Cath Lab or where to locate one on your campus please contact us.