Research has shown how interior design of healthcare facilities can help improve patient recovery times. As we become more aware of the impact indoor environments have on building users, it will be more important for designers to utilize these findings when designing for healthcare spaces.
Today we're sharing five principles of modern healthcare interiors that are proven to improve patient wellbeing and speed-up recovery.
1) Access to Natural Light
Natural light has a huge impact on health and wellness, helping to regulate the body’s sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light in healthcare facilities leads to a 12% improvement in patient recovery time - as well as lowering stress and absence levels of healthcare staff.
2) Views of Nature
Much like natural light, views of nature have been found to have similar positive impacts on healing and recovery times. They also have a positive impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of patients, helping to reduce anxiety and stress.
While some healthcare facilities may be located in areas with views of nature on the doorstep, others will have to specifically design these views. There are several options for providing patients with views of nature from their rooms:
- Designing gardens around the outside of the building which can be viewed from patient rooms
- Creating murals showing views of nature - much less desirable than real nature views, but can still create a restful, calming environment.
- Building an indoor garden, for example in the building atrium, that is available for all building users to enjoy.
3) Improved Acoustics
Numerous studies have explored the impact of noise levels in healthcare environments. In hospitals, elevated noise levels can lead to disrupted sleep and increased stress levels in patients, which in turn affects blood pressure and heart rate.
Background noise levels in hospitals and other healthcare settings will always be higher than in other indoor environments, due to the number of people in the space, and the amount of equipment in use around the clock. However, there are a few design tweaks that can be made to reduce the acoustical impact of these noise sources.
Reducing reverberation can offer a big acoustic improvement, as sound won't travel as far. Installing acoustical ceiling tiles can be a big help. Additionally, you may want to consider installing luxury vinyl tile flooring, which offers the best acoustic profile of all hard flooring types.
4) Increased Privacy
Privacy has a significant impact on patients' emotional and mental wellbeing. One of the best ways to design better privacy into healthcare settings is to provide single-occupancy rooms rather than multi-patient wards.
This offers visual and personal privacy, as well as a sense of increased control over their personal environment which can help to reduce anxiety. Single-occupancy rooms also offer a significant reduction in acoustic disturbances, especially at night, meaning patients are more comfortable and sleep better.
5) Control Over Individual Environments
Having control over their individual environment can provide a significant boost to patient's emotional and mental wellbeing. When designing a modern healthcare facility, you may want to consider designing patient rooms that provide individual control over:
- Bed position - so patients can make themselves comfortable by adjusting their own bed position rather than waiting on nursing staff to help them.
- Temperature - both heating and air conditioning.
- Lighting - with dimmable lights and electric-operated blinds or shutters, so they can be opened or closed as required.
- Noise levels - music or television volume.
Providing patients with a degree of control over their environment during a hospital stay can help to lower stress and anxiety levels, which helps with healing and recovery as well as making the hospital stay more comfortable.