One crucial consideration when designing healthcare facilities is how the building’s aesthetic and environment can contribute to patient comfort and recovery. Studies have shown that the physical design of a healthcare space can affect the mental health of patients and staff, which in turn impacts recovery, length of hospitalization, medication use, and even the experience of pain.
Researchers have posited that optimal healing spaces mitigate stress and evoke feelings of serenity and calm through the use of intentional architectural design as well as ambient qualities such as lighting, sounds, air quality and temperature. The mind, body and emotional system are deeply intertwined and the physical environment of a patient can affect all three of these areas—either contributing to the healing process or detracting from it.
Here are some important aspects to consider when designing or redesigning a healthcare setting.
- Lighting. The quality and quantity of lighting sources in a healthcare building can have a significant impact on staff and patients. Not only does lighting affect circadian rhythms, which can alter patient sleep cycles, but it can also have a psychological impact. For example, fluorescent lighting can increase anxiety and agitation in some individuals and even trigger migraines. Healthcare facilities need to employ different strategies in different areas in order to accommodate the conflicting needs of staff and patients while still maintaining ease of use, according to Health Facilities Management.
- Art. A patient’s view and visual experience while undergoing treatment can affect his or her sense of pain and even recovery time. Windows with views of nature are ideal for improving a patient’s sense of wellbeing but even paintings or photographs of nature can be beneficial. In one study, posters of realistic nature scenes hung in a psychiatric clinic reduced the need for antipsychotic injections by 70 percent, according to Harvard Business Review.
- Air Quality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection on any given day. Hospital-acquired infections can complicate a patient’s healing process and extend the length of their stay. One important way to manage infection control parameters and reduce transmission within healthcare facilities is through the regular testing and balancing of HVAC systems. By ensuring patients and staff are breathing clean, healthy air, hospitals and other facilities can improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.