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DANIELA PEDRINI – TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, HOSPITAL-UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA, SANT’ORSOLA POLYCLINIC, ITALY FACILITIES MANAGEMENT


COVID-19 and beyond: the Italian experience


Assessing and learning from the dramatic experience of Italy with COVID-19, this article deals with the main aspects of the role of hospital technicians who, in parallel with the medical and health personnel, have responded to rapidly changing needs, preparing suitable care environments for the infected and protection for other patients and operators.


With the unrelenting spread of COVID-19, Italian hospital structures have found themselves in need of reorganizing hospital networks and support activities to tackle the health emergency within a few days or even a few hours. They have transformed many of their wards into intensive, sub-intensive and inpatient areas to accommodate the ever- increasing number of patients. The rapid spread of the infection and the sudden influx of people at high infectious risk made it necessary to immediately increase the number of beds, particularly intensive care units, localised in specially equipped wards, with separate routes and dedicated teams. The organisational and technical effort put in place required a timely response and included the following: the hiring and training of dedicated operators; the closing of adjacent departments, while being transformed and reopened within a few hours, essential renovations completed in a few days, beds had to be made available, equipment installed, protection devices distributed, risk prevention and reduction measures were adopted, lines of activity interrupted or suspended, citizens contacted for services rescheduling, while managing personnel in remote working.


immediately moving entire departments, setting up multi-professional teams, guaranteeing PPE provision, even a hundred times more than the usual number, the dressing and undressing training of the teams, identifying different dirty/clean materials’ routes with adequate signals and keeping all staff informed, carrying out of urgent work to upgrade the electrical system, oxygen system and room ventilation and obtaining negative pressure, if necessary, with the installation of all equipment.


All that at the same time required


Hospital-University Authority of Bologna – Sant’Orsola Polyclinic.


Decisions had to be taken,


organizational solutions shared and all of the work activity had to be constantly monitored, continuously and relentlessly. Setting up a department or a pavilion


for the management of positive COVID-19 patients, within a hospital, means


Daniela Pedrini


Daniela Pedrini is director of the technical, planning, development and investments department of the Hospital-University Authority of Bologna – Sant’Orsola Polyclinic, one of the major hospitals in Italy. Daniela is project manager for renovations and new


hospital construction. Co-founder and current President of SIAIS (Italian Society for Architecture and Engineer for Healthcare), Daniela has a long career in the health sector, with important roles in the management of technical aspects of hospitals, and teaches for many healthcare engineering courses and university Master’s programmes. Daniela is 1st Vice-President of the International


Federation Hospital Engineering (IFHE) and a former President of IFHE-EU. Daniela has been honored with a medal of the Italian Republic Order of Merit.


IFHE DIGEST 2021


separating the paths and finding areas for other patients (transplants, oncology etc.) and to ensure continuation of treatments that cannot be postponed, while being protected from the risk of infection. In this context, everyone becomes indispensable and must work in harmony: key health managers, teams of professionals, directors and coordinators of the departments and services involved, the nursing service, the technical services, clinical engineering, risk management and pharmacy, etc. The entire team must work like an orchestra, forming a dynamic “management system” to operate in the field.


Minute by minute adaptation With regard to the technical sector, the hospital network has to be adapted for the following activities: l Setting up of a pre-triage in emergency areas, as well as day-hospitals for cancer and access points with temporary structures (tents, prefabricated boxes) to create an obligatory and differentiated path for those who enter for normal care and for those who may have respiratory symptoms, fever and cough and who could be suspected of having COVID-19.


l Creation of strictly separate areas in the emergency rooms or external areas with civil protection tents supplied from


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