How Shipping Containers Could Expand Intensive Care Units For Hospitals

A solution to a huge issue with the coronavirus Intensive care units (ICU) around the world are looking to expanding the facilities in response to the high volume of...

(Photo: CURA Pods)

A solution to a huge issue with the coronavirus

Intensive care units (ICU) around the world are looking to expanding the facilities in response to the high volume of patients due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One of the difficult obstacles around this issue is creating more infrastructure that is nearly impossible at this time due to lockdown and mandatory stay-at-home orders.

The Italian architecture practice, Carlo Ratti Associates (CRA), has developed a solution to the issue utilizing shipping containers. CRA unveiled their concept called Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (CURA) which also means “cure” in Latin.

CURA is a system of plug-in ICU pods that would be fast to mount similar to a hospital tent and offer the same level of safety as an isolation ward through biocontainment properties. The CURA pods is a ready-to-use solution that can easily be transported by train and truck, adapting to the needs of the local healthcare infrastructure.

The CURA project has worked with several experts including military experts, designers, medical professionals, and engineers to launch as soon as possible. The first CURA pod was installed on April 19 as a temporary hospital set up in Turin, northern Italy, one of the most affected regions for COVID-19.

The pods utilize biocontainment equipment including an extractor that creates indoor negative pressure to comply with the standards of airborne infections isolation rooms (AIIRs). The pods also feature windows on both sides to offer a better setting for patients to visit their family members while in quarantine.

One pod has enough space for the equipment needed to house two ICU patients including monitors and ventilators. The pods are connected to hospitals by an inflatable structure that can also act as a storage and changing room for healthcare workers.

The CURA system can also work as a self-standing field hospital for areas that don’t have hospitals. More than 2,000 people have expressed their interest in the CURA project with current construction in Canada and the UAE.

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