According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a Hospital is a place where people who are ill or injured are treated and taken care of by doctors and nurses. The word hospital comes from the Latin word “hospes”which means a guest or stranger. While the word patient comes from “patior” which means to suffer. Thus, a hospital is a place where strangers who are suffering come to be looked after.

Historical records show that good and efficient hospitals were built in India by the 600 BC. Many kings like Ashoka and Akbar had a flourishing system of hospitals and healthcare. However, the modern system of medicine in India was introduced in the 17th by the Christian missionaries in South India. Later, the British Empire set up the Madras General Hospital, the first hospital, in Chennai in the year 1664.

Developments and inventions played a very significant role during this time.In 1852, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator, which prevents the fall of the cab if the cable is broke. The design of this elevator is very similar to what we use today in our modern elevator. On March 23rd 1857, the first Otis passenger elevator was installed in a building in New York.

As time passed, lifts started becoming more and more common. One of the biggest users of lift is hospitals. The reason for this is that the hospitals are places where a lot of mobility happens, both in terms of people, as well as medical equipments. In such situations, patients who need to be transported from one place to the other need a safe and efficient space to do so. Thus, the elevators have to be specially designed to meet all the necessary requirements.

The basic characteristics and measurements are as follows:

1.Load, Floor Area and Capacity of persons

According to European regulations, the lift should have a nominal load of 100 kilos with a minimum floor area of 0.28 sq. meters and a maximum floor area of 0.37 sq. meters.

It is normal to install a lift in such buildings that have a nominal load of atleast 1000 kilos and can fit upto 13 people.

Electric Elevators V/s Hydraulic Elevators

Hydraulic elevators use lesser space (because they are in the shape of cylinder). They can travel upto 60 feet with a speed of 200 feet/minute. They use a fluid driven piston mounted inside a cylinder.
Electric elevators are faster and have a suspension system with a counterweight. An electric elevator uses sheaves and cables to take an elevator up and down.

2.Efficiency and Availability

Hospitals are places where a lot of people are present under one roof. But, there are certain instances wherein specific things are a priority as compared to others. For example, transfer of patients, transfer of beds to rooms or operating rooms, movements of food trolley and more. Here, the waiting time should be minimal, as these tasks need to be carried out quickly and efficiently. Thus, the lifts need to be equipped with all the latest technological advances. Moreover, the lifts should be built in a way that they reduce noise pollution and do not cause sudden jerks or movements.


In hospitals, one of the most important usages of lifts is to transfer stretchers or beds, which have patients, from one place to another. Now, this comes with a lot of difficulties and thus, it is important to have a well executed plan that takes all these problems into consideration. It should make sure that the entry and exit of the beds or stretchers should be quick and hassle free. Also, the doors should be designed properly so as to assure an efficient journey.


Since lifts are used so frequently, it is necessary to see that they are being maintained regularly. They need to abide by the safety measurements, including outbreak of fire and protection systems, so as to prevent future problems.

Moreover, basic safety elements like action parachute, emergency lights, alarm button, phone, visual and acoustic signaling for when the maximum load has exceeded as well as for detection in loosening of suspension cables or mechanic rescue aids should be installed in every lift

5.Energy Efficiency

Since lifts are used so frequently, it’s necessary to ensure that they are energy efficient. They should include a system of traction by variable frequency (VVVF). It basically allows saving the power by using a hydraulic traction system, instead of an electric one.

6.Electromagnetic compatibility

In certain areas in the hospitals, the EMC is lower than usual, because of the presence of equipments which also have electromagnetic effects and thus there is a risk of coupling effects that can generate interferences in the working of these devices. So, the lifts should be built in a way to incorporate this problem and reduce these emissions.


The lifts in hospitals should not only be clean but should be disinfected regularly. The elevator pit should be waterproof and the cabin must be made of anti-bacterial materials, so as to assure the good health of the patients.

8.Emergency lifts

It is necessary to have emergency lifts in all public buildings, including a hospital. It should have a minimum load of 630 kilos and must be able to complete its entire journey in about 60 seconds.

Characteristics and Measurements of hospital lifts