When it comes to designing for your hospital or health care facility, there are many factors to consider. Infection control, room function and flow, building codes and the efficient use of space are all important considerations. However, it’s also worth sparing a thought for whether your design is sufficiently patient-centred. In other words, does it cater to all your patients’ needs – not just the strictly medical ones?
Your patients’ most obvious need is quality health care that delivers desired and reasonable health outcomes. However, there are many less obvious “needs” that can support your patients in achieving this outcome, including needs that can be met through your hospital’s design and fitout. These needs include natural light, access to nature and opportunities for interaction with family.
Access to natural light has been linked to several health outcomes for hospital patients. In some cases, access to natural light has been found to reduce the length of patient hospital stays. It can also assist in regulating circadian rhythms and improving sleep, with all the obvious health benefits that accompany this. Taking a patient-centred approach to designing for natural light may involve positioning patients’ rooms appropriately, using larger windows or even incorporating sky lights. The best approach will depend on your hospital’s size and situation.
Studies suggest that hospital gardens and even just views of gardens and nature can improve patient outcomes. Compared to control groups, patients with views of nature have been found to require less pain medication and experience fewer complications post-surgery. A central courtyard filled with greenery or views of less “tamed” nature are both options for this aspect of patient-centred design. As always, what’s possible will depend on your hospital’s location, shape and existing design.
Family involvement in a patient’s healing process can improve their experience and even their health outcomes. Larger rooms, comfortable seating or even space for families to stay overnight are all ways to facilitate visiting and family involvement. Once again, your existing design will provide both restraints and possibilities.
At Premis Solutions, we have years of experience helping hospitals and health care facilities refurbish or fitout their premises to offer a patient-centred experience.