March 29, 2016

Design Environments that Boost Healing + Comfort

A well-designed and well-hosted environment including amenities, artwork, natural light and views of nature can elevate mood and improve wellbeing and emotional health. Research even shows that hospitals and healthcare spaces that cater to the emotional and physical comfort of patients and families boost satisfaction and increase traffic at these institutions.

Design strategist Yuhgo Yamaguchi advocates for smart healthcare design and amenities in the Harvard Business Review article, “Better Healing from Better Hospital Design.”

“When many people think of hospital design and its impact, they often believe it’s a superficial, touchy-feely, and subjective endeavor. But there are numerous examples throughout the world that have demonstrated—with clinical data—that design has a measurable, desirable impact on clinical outcomes and cost. These evidence-based designs have saved lives, reduced pain, improved clinical outcomes, and made less painful (and even provided some delight during) some of the most difficult moments in people’s lives.” See the full article.

We recommend that healthcare spaces have comfort amenities, and furniture with easy-to-use posture adjustments and in-reach storage so patients can stow their belongings and access blankets, tissues, water, etc.

It’s vital to plan for the presence of family members. They want to be near loved ones during treatments in settings that support their own daily activities. It’s beneficial to support the use of personal devices and wherever possible, select colors, materials, lighting and furnishings that feel welcoming and relaxing, instead of too clinical or institutional.

People love natural light and calming views, and convenient or immediate access to these satisfies the experiences and perceptions of patients and clinicians alike. Find more design principles in the second volume of the Insights + Applications Guide from Steelcase Health.