Hamburg hospital offers rooms for patients with MCS and environmental illness

After much effort, the Agaplesion Diakonie Hospital in Hamburg, Germany has designed two rooms for people with MCS and multiple allergies. For many years, local support groups have worked tirelessly to try to integrate environmentally controlled hospital rooms in the hospital. For the first time ever, it is possible for people who suffer from environmental illnesses or severe allergies to be in a hospital for medical treatment which is tailored to their health issues.

Environmental rooms for MCS, the environmentally ill, and multiple allergic patients

Since February 2011, with the move into the newly built Agaplesion DIAKONIE Medical Center in Hamburg (formerly the hospitals, Old Oaks, and Bethany Elim), for the first time, a hospital has two special pollutant free rooms prepared for those with environmental allergies, and MCS patients. The special environmental rooms have been built with much care. They consist of a single and a double room. Both rooms are connected by a vestibule from the other station areas separated so that chemical-sensitive patients do not come in contact with the usual hospital chemicals and fragrances from other patients.

Medical treatment, surgery, obstetrics

The Agaplesion Clinic offers the two environmental rooms which have been specially prepared for the treatment of patients in the medical environment including the following hospital departments in the with an integrated spectrum:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Geriatrics (geriatric medicine)
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery, Hand Surgery, Plastic Surgery
  • Gynecology, Obstetrics
  • Orthopedics
  • Anasthesia, Intensive Care

Criteria for inclusion in Environmental Room

There is a briefing which takes place through a doctor or the emergency room. During the first contact a message states that the patient wants a shot in the environmental room. The Agaplesion Clinic requires patients have medical evidence showing MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), environmental allergies / intolerance (allergy multi-) and / or a present a chronic intoxication in the patient. A MCS and / or allergy passport is also useful to explain the need for inclusion in a special room environment.

Core Unit of the Environment Room

Rooms in conventional hospitals are not suitable for chemically sensitive patients. In general, the wards have PVC flooring and particleboard furniture. The environmental rooms in the Agaplesion Clinic have given much effort to create a plan that recognizes the needs of MCS sufferers with good air quality issues. The two environmental rooms were built with the low emission of air pollutants / safe building materials and furnishings, to ensure the safety for hypersensitive patients.

Some examples of the special features of the environmental room:

  • Walls and ceilings with running Fermacell Green Line plates
  • Massive exterior walls are lime
  • Walls and ceilings painted with lime paint
  • Rooms are equipped with a wall heater
  • Floor is made of ceramic tiles.
  • Window and door frames are insulated with hemp
  • Doors are made of glass
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been reduced, including through the installation of power circuit breakers
  • Furniture is made of enamel, metal, or stainless steel

The clinic staff shall ensure low-emission patient care:

  • Attention is given to see if there are fragrance-containing and damaging products in patient vicinity.
  • Patients are asked about their possible food intolerances to allergies, to drugs, disinfectants, medicines and anesthetics.
  • A dietitian takes into account the patients’ food intolerances
  • At the medical station information is summarized, and this can be viewed at any time by medical staff.
  • The staff of the station is working together very closely with the support group „environmental illnesses MCS + CFS.”
  • The room environment is cleaned with fragrance free detergents, but a disinfecting cleaning is essential to neutralize odors, so the patient is offered the use of effective microorganisms (EM 1).
  • When necessary, patients may bring their own food which is kept in a refrigerator at the door. A kettle is also available there.
  • The bedding of the entire hospital is fragrance-free but these patients are permitted to bring their own bedding.

Special measures for the benefit of environmental patients

  • The use of fragrance-free and low-polluting products is offered to patients and their visitors
  • The use of cell phones and smoking are not permitted in this area
  • Living together requires all patients in the environmental room practice understanding, respect and helpfulness

Hospital life – side note

Important information for environmental patients and their physicians, that the Agaplesion Clinic is a hospital and not an environmental clinic. In a hospital procedures are regulated and special requests cannot be met. The Agaplesion Clinic breaks new ground by providing the two environmental rooms. The employees are trained on MCS and environmental illness, but they are dependent on cooperation between the patients, so that a smooth clinical work can be guaranteed. Perhaps at first patients won’t have the highest satisfaction, but patients should be understanding and possibly contribute constructive suggestions for improvement since this is the first attempt at providing environmentally safe rooms in a hospital. It is important for patients with chemical sensitivity (MCS) to realize that this is a new development at the clinic. For those with hyper-sensitivities, a stay at the hospital, despite careful selection of materials, initially may be fraught with problems because of outgassing and ecological matters.

The Chemically Sensitive are thankful for their commitment

The MCS support groups in Hamburg, which for years pursued the goal of a “MCS-friendly hospital room in a hospital” give hearty thanks and appreciation to the doctors, hospital planners, architects and government agencies that were involved in this project. All the best and much success for the safe environment in the new rooms at the Agaplesion Clinic!

Author: Silvia K. Müller, CSN – Chemical Sensitivity Network, 1 March 2011

Translation: Christi Howarth


Agaplesion Diakonie Hospital Hamburg, newsletter: environmental rooms for MCS patients and the environment / multiple allergies, January 2011


Agaplesion DIAKONIE Hospital Hamburg

Hohe Weide 17, 20259 Hamburg, Germany, Tel: (040) 7 90 20 – 0, Fax (040) 7 90 20 – 10 79, E-mail:, Internet:

Further CSN articles about MCS:

10 Responses to “Hamburg hospital offers rooms for patients with MCS and environmental illness”

  1. Lawrence A. Plumlee, MD 3. March 2011 um 17:52

    The creation of less toxic rooms in hospitals should be a goal for chemical sensitivity support groups throughout the world. Now we can use the Agaplesion Diakonie Hospital in Hamburg as a guide.
    Congratulations to Germany for this accomplishment.

  2. Julie 3. March 2011 um 21:21

    Thank you so much for reporting this. Not only should these types of rooms be a goal for chemical sensitivity groups as Larry writes above, but should be a gold standard for ALL hospital rooms. Anyone who is in a hospital – and therefore being challenged by a health condition – should be able to stay in a room that does not bombard their system with toxic fumes from cleaning chemicals, fragrances, and building materials. It’s a no-brainer. Time for the whole world to catch up! Thank you Germany for being a leader in this area.

  3. Melva Smith 4. March 2011 um 21:18

    Wonderful!!!! Germany is setting an example for the world!!! We have reverse air flow rooms here that lasted me about two days and then I started having a reaction and got so messed up I couldn’t shower to go home….but I lasted 2 days, and that was good.

  4. Marsha Miliman 6. March 2011 um 14:09

    Can someone please send me a complete list of the cleaning and disinfecting chemicals that the hospital uses for the EI rooms. I want to work for them to be used in hospitals and clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. I am severely chemically sensitive, and suffer from the pervasive use of “air fresheners, harsh cleaning chemicals, and other toxic products in all of these environments. I’m especially interested in proving to administrators that nontoxic products CAN be effective disinfectants.

    Thank you.

  5. Rodothea 17. March 2011 um 13:14

    Dear Marsha,
    You can find useful information at the following address:
    This is related to the following which is mentioned above-
    «The room environment is cleaned with fragrance free detergents, but a disinfecting cleaning is essential to neutralize odors, so the patient is offered the use of effective microorganisms (EM 1)».

  6. Kate 7. April 2011 um 15:31

    What a good and so necessary initiative ! hoping others will follow.

  7. Kate 21. April 2011 um 11:46

    Hi,I was wondering if you would accept that I translate a part of this article in french, adding a link to your website.

    With my best regards,

  8. Silvia 21. April 2011 um 17:16

    Hi Kate,

    Sure we give you the permission to translate the article. You can use the photo as well. Just add a link to CSN.

    Best regards from Germany,Silvia

  9. Harry Clark 5. July 2011 um 07:05

    Thankyou Silvia for the great article and news. and thanks Christi for the translation that allowed me to read such good news. This example of environmental rooms is going to be used by us in Australia to press our government to include environmental rooms in the just announced multibillion dollar New Hosptial in one of our capital cities. wish us luck :-)
    MCS News
    MCS Society of Australia

  10. Laurie Larrison 30. August 2011 um 08:11

    Thank goodness there is progress somewhere. I live in the U.S. and have MCS, reactive airway disease and allergies. Most docs still treat me as if I am crazy, with the exception of my allergy doc and one other. I hope that this progress will continue and the U.S. will be pressured to take MCS and other environmentally connected illnesses more seriously.

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