ICUs generated by the interaction of ergonimists in the design process result in differentiated spaces with the use of colour, paintings, good lighting, space for patients personal memories and pictures and others details which brings human aspects to the space. Top right: Interior of the first ICU. Bottom right: The third ICU with a garden view and more colour.

sources and past experiences and with the architecture. The result is an ICU conceived with a enriched approach. Discussions with the client and other stakeholders can result in new solutions and proposals, and later, for the engineers and others professionals the construction project can become more human and efficient.

Ergonomic project development The generation of alternative solutions to the common problems raised in work situations is a necessary step. From the diagnosis and recommendations made it is then necessary, together with the workers and staff trained in design, to generate possible alternative solutions. It is necessary to evolve, innovate and think differently to improve the existing situation and to think about human performance in the current situation, and how this will evolve over time. The search for solutions involves

questioning the current organisation and questioning the possible development and construction of new organisational models for workers. From an ergonomics perspective, it is essential to have the participation of users. In the case of the ICU projects the authors spoke to the patients, health professionals and to maintenance staff, to ensure that all their expectations are met with the design. Architects are starting to establish

a methodology similar to that of the ergonomists, known as Post Occupation Evaluation (POE). This uses methodology taken from social science and brings data which the architect can use to help create functional spaces. In order to facilitate understanding of

the proposed space allocation and layout, the use of three-dimensional models of the physical environment, furniture and equipment can be helpful. Scale models


(physical and virtual) can help simulate work situations and mock ups of jobs. Many users of the space are not trained to understand technical drawings and they need to understand the proposal to be able to better evaluate and approve a new design. Virtual simulators can help here, using virtual 3D human models which allows users to better understand the space.

Detail ergonomic conceptual design At the stage where the best alternative is selected, it is first necessary to reach a reference on the organisation of work to be built in this environment, to guide the project. The design work should be compatible with both the physical and cognitive, with analytical skills, with the organisational skills and leadership and social factors of the system. The verification and validation of

the project work should include an assessment of the proposed work. Before validation, a set of validation criteria should be created, such as those related to complexity (such as activities in parallel, the need for frequent communication), as well as those associated to the time constraints and typical scenarios of operation. The virtual simulation of these scenarios can be useful as a means of validation. These specifications are intended

to ensure the application of the methodology from the beginning of ergonomic design, and also as national and international reference standards. When the construction or adaptation

of a certain space begins it must contain all the information. In general, a project will require some adjustments due to physical aspects and necessities. After coming into operation, any

deficiencies must be raised. Field observations, interviews or other

systematic methods can be employed to achieve this. The result of this is a useful source of information for the design of new work situations.

Working together The ICU projects usually began with a demand for the ergonomist by the doctors when they knew that it was possible to employ human factors into ICUs projects. The professionals worked together in all phases of the project, bringing with them new ideas and different processes. The first project was an adaptation of

an existing small ICU. Where the space for each bed was really small, a pivot panel was created to give more flexible space and colour was used. The second project was a new ICU

where some ceilings were painted with an abstract theme, it also has plenty of natural lighting. Another project was for a small new ICU in an existing hospital where it was possible to create a view to the garden, and a floor with some coloured patterns, it also has boxes containing a television and an armchair where a companion could sleep or stay longer with the patient.

Conclusion The development of methodological tools is crucial to consolidate the work of ergonomics as part of the design and evaluation and helps it integrate with the architecture project. The integration of ergonomics and

architecture has helped create special ICUs, as they show the doctors that this can be a comfortable and pleasant space. The doctor responsible for one of these ICUs has gone on to create an aquarium in another ICU in Rio de Janeiro, as a result of better knowledge of the many possibilities that exist.


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