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Turning Portable Buildings into Medical Units


Portable buildings have so many uses, but today we’re going to look at using jackleg cabins and other portable buildings as medical units. They come in a range of sizes, so you can select the one that best suits you. When you’re in a spot of trouble when it comes to space, a portable building could be just the solution you need.



Here’s why to turn portable buildings into medical units.




Why Use Portable Buildings

There are a few reasons you might want to use a portable cabin for your medical practice. They can be incredibly useful if there’s limited space available and you need somewhere secure to set up. Other reasons include:



● Temporary location: If you’re holding a health class, dental clinic, or a diabetic clinic for a few weeks in a certain area, but plan to move on once done, a portable cabin can be very useful. It provides everything you need within the cabin but can be moved easily once you finish the clinic. It’s also possible for you to move your entire clinic from one place to another, so you can serve multiple communities by changing locations every few weeks.



● During construction: Are you in the process of building on to your existing clinic or constructing a whole new one? If so, you may need somewhere to see patients while you wait for construction to complete. A temporary building can be set up for the moment and used until your new building is ready for you to move in.



● Emergency setting: In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary to set up a temporary medical space near the emergency area. This could be in place for a few days or a few weeks, depending on the situation. You may need more than one cabin in order to manage the scene.



● Remote medical clinic: Sometimes you need to set up a medical clinic in a remote area. This could be for a wide variety of reasons, including a remote construction site, or another area where you may need a nurse or doctor for remote purposes.



Portable cabins are ideal for many medical uses, including dental offices, prenatal clinics, diabetic clinics, massage therapies, blood labs, and even blood donation clinics. You can think outside the box and consider anything that may be done in a regular clinic could be moved to a portable cabin. As long as you can move the appropriate equipment into these buildings, you can turn them into any type of medical space, from testing to treatment and even convert them into spaces for extra hospital beds. Doctors around the country have used these types of temporary buildings to help ease the load on the hospitals and to provide services that require some separation, such as testing for diseases, chemotherapy, and dialysis.




How to Turn a Portable Building into a Medical Clinic

At first glance, a simple metal building may not seem much like a medical space, but that can be changed fairly rapidly. You’ll need to focus on a few specifics.




● Size: How much space do you need? There are multiple sizes of portable cabins available, up to 32x9 feet, as well as much smaller options. If one cabin doesn’t suit your needs, you may choose to set up multiple rooms, so you have room for everything. In some cases, it may be easier to have several smaller cabins set up for different areas of the clinic, or you may prefer one larger cabin. Determine what you need the cabin to handle, such as storage, beds, or just an exam room. This will help you choose the correct size. It’s usually best to go a little larger than necessary if possible, as you will often find that the chosen space is not enough once you’re using it.



● Building Placement: Where will the building go? The area must be easily accessible and have parking access. You’ll need space to bring patients in, so that will depend on the type of healthcare services you’re offering. If most of the patients will walk in, you can afford to have some space between the parking lot and the cabin, but if you’ll have people brought in with wheelchairs or stretchers, you’ll need to consider how they’ll be entered.



● Security Risks: Check the area for potential security risks. Remember that there will be people outside, so it isn’t just about what is risky inside the cabin. If there are holes, ravines, or other potential hazards nearby, these may need to be marked off or dealt with to ensure no one is injured.



Ensure any exit routes are clearly marked and specify parking and waiting areas to prevent confusion. All guidelines (wearing a mask, placement of sharps, etc.) should be clearly stated in bold signs.


In addition to the physical security risks for those attending the clinic, you’ll need to plan for security of medical supplies. There are secure cabins that are designed to keep everything inside them safe, which may be a good choice for any valuable supplies and equipment overnight. However, you’ll also have medications and such that need to be kept in the clinical area, but secure. For these, you may wish to purchase a lockbox or a cupboard that can be locked with a key.



● Accessibility:


● Not all cabins are accessible, so you will either need to make them so or search for a cabin that is already accessible. Look for alternatives to stairs, such as ramps or lifts to ensure everyone can access your medical clinic.




Other accessible features to look for include wider doors to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, as well as seamless door frames. You may need to make some adjustments to allow for full access, but it’s worth it to ensure all patients can be accommodated.




How to Outfit Your New Space

The interior of the cabin may not be ideal for a medical clinic immediately. You will need to check that the interior walls are complete. Ideally, you’ll have a toilet built into the building, but there are also toilet blocks that you can hire if necessary.


Make a list of the equipment you’ll need in the medical clinic, including everything such as:



- Examination tables


- Chairs


- Desks


- Scanners


- Beds


- Curtained divisions


- Medicine cabinets


- Equipment


- Shelves




The next step is to figure out where to put everything. You may need to get a little creative with the space you have and double up on usage for some things. For example, a desk may be a board set atop two filing cabinets for extra space, or you may stack cabinets to ensure you have enough storage space and tuck storage containers under beds, etc. Depending on the purpose of the medical cabin, you may need more equipment. A dental chair and sink will require more space than a simple exam bed and a full x-ray machine will need even more space. Keep all of this in mind as you plan your layout. If you plan to have various spaces in one cabin, you will want to attach curtains or use room dividers to help keep the spaces separate.



Don’t forget to plan for any special equipment, such as oxygen tanks, ventilators, etc. You may need to run a generator behind the cabin in order to ensure you have backup energy if there is an outage. Temporary portable buildings can be invaluable when it comes to handling a shortage of space for your medical clinic. Whether you’re providing prenatal services, psychiatric consults, or COVID tests, a temporary building will give you the extra space you need for as long as you require it.



If you’re currently considering hiring a portable building or two, Manchester Cabins has everything you may need. Contact us today to learn how we can work with your needs.

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