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Estimating Low and High Space per Bed for

Inpatient Units
Originally printed in the
SpaceMed Newsletter
Winter 2011
www.spacemed.com

There is significant variation in the nursing unit space per bed from project to project regardless of whether the number of beds will be accommodated in new construction or in a reconfiguration of existing space. Historically, this variation was
attributed to the mix of private, semiprivate, and multiple-bed patient rooms. Even
though most hospital building projects in the U.S. today are planned with all private
patient rooms, the total space required to support a specific number of beds continues to vary. Contributing factors include the size and layout of the private patient
room and adjoining toilet/shower room, the specific grouping of the patient rooms
within the unit, the amount of family, visitor, and staff amenities provided on the
floor, and the extent of point-of-care clinical and support services.
The pie chart below graphically displays the range in net square feet (NSF) for the
four major categories of space on an inpatient nursing unit. These ranges can vary
within each category for any given project. The overall design and layout of the
floor itself generally impacts the specific NSF to department gross square feet
(DGSF) conversion factor.
A more detailed explanation of the types of space included in these categories and
other factors that contribute to the range and NSF and DGSF per bed can be found
in the article "Nursing Unit Space Per Bed Can Vary Significantly: Factors That
Impact Space Allocation" in the Winter 2010 issue of the SpaceMed Newsletter.
Common Staff
Support Space
9 to 54 NSF/Bed

Common
Family/Visitor
Amenities
7 to 23 NSF/Bed

Nursing Unit
Support Space
50 to 100 NSF/Bed

Patient Room
Module
280 to 340 NSF/Bed

2011.4.1

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Estimating Low and High Space per Bed for


Inpatient Units

LOW

HIGH

Net Square Feet


Per Bed

Net Square Feet


Per Bed

Patient Room Module

280

340

Includes the patient room and contiguous toilet/shower room.

Nursing Unit Support Space

50

100

Includes all necessary clinical support


and staff administrative space that is directly associated with the management
and care of patients on the nursing unit.

Common Family/
Visitor Amenities

23

Includes family/visitor lounge and other


amenities.

Common Staff Support Space

54

Includes staff offices, lockers and


lounge facilities, and other space that
may or may not be located within the
nursing unit.

Total Net Square Feet per Bed

345

517

Sum of above components.

Total Department Gross


Square Feet per Bed

500

800

Assumes a NSF to DGSF conversion


factor of 1.45 to 1.55.

Component

Comments

Note: Department gross square feet (DGSF) represents the "footprint" of a department or functional component and includes the net square feet (NSF) of the individual rooms as well as the space occupied by internal circulation corridors,
walls/partitions, and minor utility shafts; DGSF excludes common areas such as shared public corridors and lobbies, elevator banks, stairwells, major mechanical spaces, and the space occupied by the building's exterior wall.

Source: SpaceMed Guide.

2011.4.1

Copyright SpaceMed

www.spacemed.com

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