06 March 2017

Rethinking the way we design hospitals

Given the influence a hospital’s design can have on the welfare of patients, it is important to select materials that foster a beautiful, comforting and healing environment.

Significant research has shown that architecture can have a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of patients recovering in health care facilities. The findings confirm that there are a number of areas, under an architect’s influence, which can shape a positive experience for patients and staff alike.

Patient Satisfaction

While the additional capital required to dramatically improve health care conditions is relatively small, some findings show that the use of Evidence-Based Design (EBD) can drastically improve overall patient satisfaction and quality of life. Bryan Lawson, RIBA, Registered Architect, and emeritus professor at the United Kingdom’s University of Sheffield School of Architecture, dubbed this concept “Healing Architecture.”

According to Lawson, the use of EBD incorporates empirical knowledge of human behavior and scientific method, which has the ability to reduce treatment times, lower the consumption of medication by patients, lessen levels of aggression, and create an environment that supports better sleeping patterns and calmness.

Improving Health Care Facilities

To correctly help identify successful criteria, giving a holistic approach to designing health care facilities, a framework tool was developed, called ASPECT – A Staff and Patient Environmental Calibration Tool. Adopted in several countries around the world, eight important factors linked to improving health care facilities have been recognized.

  • Privacy, Company, Dignity: Privacy is a major concern for patients and when designing a room, one should enable patients to be alone and with others as they need.
  • Views: There is significant research that links a patient’s access to outside views and light to a quicker recovery time.
  • Nature and Outdoors: Contact to nature has shown to be therapeutic and calming, and an important consideration given the vulnerable state of patients in hospitals.
  • Comfort and Control: Hospitals are busy and noisy spaces; providing patients the ability to adjust their light, heat and noise exposure, empowers them.
  • Legibility of Place: Sometimes overwhelming to navigate, one should design health care facilities to be as intuitive as possible to orientate through.
  • Interior Appearance: Designing a hospital to be inviting and cozy can positively affect and reduce the amount of time spent by patients recovering.
  • Facilities and …
  • Staff: The final two stages of ASPECT are grouped together and are geared toward qualities and spaces in the facilities for staff.

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