Things to Consider When Planning to Upgrade Your Hemodialysis Unit

Age and Condition

When considering improvements to your Hemodialysis unit, you may want to modernize furniture, finishes, lighting and equipment in order to improve the patient environment. While planning the upgrade you will also need to consider the age and condition of the water treatment system that provides either distilled or reverse osmosis water to the patient dialysis equipment. Is it in working order? Does the equipment provide water at the quality required by the latest standards? Are there equipment options that could be providing a higher level of disinfection than what your systems currently provide?

Making what appears to be small changes to the hemodialysis suite and its equipment could have major impacts on building systems infrastructure. If you know it is time to make changes and improvements, make sure you plan effectively by employing the necessary team members.

Selecting a Team of Professionals

If your facility is like most, you have a relationship with an equipment vendor for water treatment systems. The water treatment vendor is often contracted directly with a healthcare provider to change out carbon filter tanks, water softener media, and deionization tanks. The vendor also is generally on call to repair and maintain water treatment system components as they need attention or repair.

When it is time to upgrade the patient environment and the water treatment equipment, your vendor will likely be able to offer a new system that can deliver pure water in an efficient manner that is compliant with all regulatory requirements. Although you may know which treatment system is preferred, you will need an engineer to help you plan for the installation of the new equipment. The new equipment will likely have different power, water and drainage requirements than the original equipment and it may require additional floor space. The pure water distribution piping between the treatment system and the patient dialysis stations may need to be altered or even removed and replaced with a different piping material. The new equipment may generate more heat than the original system equipment, requiring upgrades to your HVAC systems.

Implementing Improvements

In addition to planning for upgrades to the water treatment system, your engineer will also need to review the latest code requirements for healthcare facilities to ensure that lighting, HVAC, and plumbing systems are compliant with regulatory requirements and your architect will work with your staff to define a layout that optimizes your available space and creates the best possible patient experience.

Upgrading a hemodialysis unit at either an inpatient or outpatient facility requires a team (a savvy owner, an engineer and architect, and a trusted water treatment systems vendor) working together to define the improvements necessary to ensure a successful project.

If you would like more information regarding the design of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for hemodialysis units or if you would like assistance with an upcoming project, please contact Jonathan B. Slagel, PE, LEED AP HFDP, at (717)-817-2277 or