If you have been stuck in a hospital for long periods of time or even if you have just visited a friend or family member briefly, you know how gloomy and intimidating the hospital design interior can be. Often times they are small, the rooms are sometimes cramped, medical supplies are everywhere you look and there is very little life throughout. This may seem obvious, hospitals need to be as efficient as possible, but is there a way to promote efficiency and production while also changing the current hospital design standard we are so used to?
Many people are very hesitant to change the current design norms of hospitals and healthcare facilities because they work pretty well and change is often times met with resistance, but it has been proven that certain elements of design can help increase patient healing, prevent HAIs and promote employee productivity. What hospital design interior changes can we make to improve our hospitals and patient stays?
Starting from the moment patients and visitors step into your hospital, they should feel welcome and have confidence in the healthcare providers they have chosen. Spaces that are well lit, have nicely utilized spaces and are filled with modern furniture often increase confidence about the facility and the competence of their staff. Visitors need help knowing where to go once they enter the facility, which is a great opportunity to incorporate some design elements. Large window displays are an effective and unique way to differentiate the different departments and help visitors find where to go.
There have been studies conducted that prove that a well designed and uplifting environment influences patient healing and reduces stress. Things like large windows allow for natural light, indoor and outdoor gardens outside of patient rooms and interesting artwork throughout the space is a great way to combat restlessness and melancholy. Reduced stress has been shown to shorten patient stays.
Hospitals practicing a newer design technique are making it a priority to use more natural materials when designing rooms. This means replacing the use of steel and plastic with things like wood and stone. This can make the environment seem more warm and inviting, making the patient more comfortable. Patients and visitors often report feeling intimidated by all of the medical equipment left out in the open. This often refers to the large wall of supplies hanging over the beds. New designs have begun using removable design panels to conceal the technology. Not only can this make the patient feel more comfortable, but it also promotes flexibility in the hospital for when technology needs to be switched out.
Beyond the positive effects on patients, a new look at hospital design can have a positive impact on the employees and overall effectiveness of the hospital. For the staff alone, more ergonomic work spaces can work to reduce strain, decreasing the amount of workplace injury. In addition, added benefits to the space like outdoor eating areas, stronger distinction between work and break areas and accessible spaces for outside team members can all be positive changes to boost morale and overall productivity within the staff.
When it comes to the more detailed design of hospitals, single-bed rooms are being pushed more than ever. They help stop the spread of infection, especially when paired with a product like our FlowCARE nurse servers. When designing rooms with flexibility, it is easy to make changes to the room, preventing patients from being shuffled around to different departments also decreasing the spread of HAIs.
Changing the way we look at hospital design interior can be extremely beneficial for the staff and overall effectiveness of the organization, but more importantly, taking a look at design from the point of the patient, we can do a better job to encourage healing, help patients become a partner in their care and feel more comfortable returning and maintaining healthy living practices.
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