Shipping – Modular Hospitals Manufactured Using Shipping Containers
IDEA brings a great solution to the COVID-19 crisis: SHipping, modular hospitals using shipping containers. Using the same principle of modular construction, IDEA proposes to use shipping containers to generate solid structures of up to 6 or 12 storeys. Are we looking at a new hospital model capable of dealing with this health crisis?
COVID-19 is putting pressure on the public-private health system in all countries where it is advancing at an exponential rate. The first consequence of this is the lack of ward beds and ICU beds for patients who, furthermore, should be as isolated as possible in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
This fact is not only due to the huge peak in the number of patients affected in a short period of time, but also to the fact that each patient’s average stay (in ICUs only), lasts on average, up to 28 dayswhen, in 2016, this figure was less than eight days in total. This value plays an important role in the calculation of the number of planned bedsin a hospital. However, other factors come into play, such as the socio-demographic and epidemiological features of the population corresponding to the hospital’s catchment area, the hospital’s service portfolio, the distances of the populations served by the hospital and the existence of alternative hospital resources in the catchment area.
It is therefore logical, to a certain extent, that no health system can sustain a situation of this type, unless there is a solid contingency plan or a huge effort is made in the problem’s most incipient stages.
In Spain, for example, neither of these happened, and improvised measures were chosen in the end, such as field hospitals deployed by the army, or the conditioning of spaces such as IFEMA in Madrid.
The solution to the problem is simple and China demonstrated it just when they built that famous hospital in 10 days, and it was done by means of a modular construction.
Spaces that are being completely reconverted, and replicated in manyof the countries affected by the pandemic, without complying, in most cases, with minimum comfort and privacy conditions, as well as putting patients and health staff at risk, given the high viral load that builds up in such an open space. And if it has been shown that precisely the viral load to which a patient is exposed in many cases determines the severity of the disease, this is a truly critical factor to control. Below are some examples of the field hospitals that have been set up all over the world:
They are makeshift facilities, which are therefore far from perfect. And the solution to the problem is simple and, China demonstrated this by building that famous hospital in 10 days: Modular construction. On that occasion, the modules selected were construction site huts, structures that usually are very well-equipped and are quick to install, but which do not usually allow for more thantwo storeys.
It is logical, to a certain extent, that no health system can sustain a situation of this type
So assuming that the ideal location for this type of constructions is always annexed to the existing hospital complex (in order to share resources), there is a serious spatial problem.All this, assuming there is a space of moderately acceptable dimensions, such as an outdoor car park, which is not always the case, as, in order to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible, it would be ideal to isolate all those affected and the professionals who treat them in the same single space. Using the existing primary hospital as the primary source of resources for this temporary installation.
A vicious circle that will keep on repeating itself indefinitely, as long as measures such as those indicated are not put in place.
This fact has been shown to be especially important in Spain, where approximately 15-20% of health staff have been affected by greater or lesser mild cases of COVID-19. This personnel is allowed to return to their jobs only a few days after the symptoms have ceased, even without undergoing a test having confirmed the virus is in complete remission. In other words,in Spain, health staff are both the great hope and the great problem.
Several studies show that the first uncontrolled outbreaks in Madrid originated this way: an infected person goes to hospital > health staff without adequate PPE are infected > > health staff, sometimes asymptomatic, infect their close relatives and all the patients they treat in their primary (hospital) and secondary (nursing homes) work. And this, albeit more controlled, continues to occur, given the lack of guaranteed PPE, as well as the lack of tests to detect asymptomatic people and health staff, who even knowing that they are infected, have to continue working.
The solution to this problem is called: SHipping
A vicious circle that will keep on repeating itself indefinitely, as long as measures such as those indicated are not put in place. And this is where IDEAIngeniería wants to contribute its solution to this problem: SHipping. Using the same principle of modular construction, IDEA proposes to use shipping containers to generate solid structures of up to 6 or 12 storeys depending on the case, where to comfortably accommodate all those affected by the virus.
Buildings that would have medicalised modules, ICUs, common areas for health staff and individual rooms with all their mod cons, for less ill patients.
Buildings that would have medicalised modules, ICUs, common areas for health staff and individual rooms with all their mod cons, for less ill patients. Patients who, currently, are being relocated in many cases in medicalised hotels, where space is reduced to a bed and a toilet. Furthermore, these containers build up in most major goods ports, because, when China, the world’s largest exporter, uses them for their shipments, they then do not want them returned empty (and their imports are much lower), since their value is less than the cost to transport them. That is, there is a high availability at almost zero price. This means that, if their conditioning cost is optimised, which is the purpose pursued by IDEA, a very high value product at a very low price is generated. So, if module construction were standardised by type, creating a new hospital would be rather like putting Lego pieces together.
A product optimised for transport by lorry, train and/or ship, to any part of the world, as they are stackable. This is much more complicated with the construction huts used by China, as they cannot be stacked on their own, given their lower resistance. Finally, it is also important to highlight the possibilities these modular structures provide in poorer environments where hospitals are very limited and/or non-existent. Especially assuming that the southern hemisphere, which is much more disadvantaged than the north, is now into autumn and will soon enter winter, which can accelerate the spread of the virus in these regions.
This way,IDEA contributes, in a completely open and free way, its SHipping project,to build Modular Hospitals using Shipping Containers. An energy-efficient design to ensure the patient’s well-being, even at very extreme outdoor temperatures, avoiding indoor temperature and condensation problems, which can lead to possible discomfort