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Hospital interiors shaping patient experience

Article-Hospital interiors shaping patient experience

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Medicine isn't the only thing that makes you feel better as research on healing architecture shows promise of improving patient outcomes through design. 

Conscious of the sector evolving, with patient preferences and government policies changing, owners of healthcare facilities are growing conscious of the impact that interior design has on patient outcomes and visitor perceptions. A new, extended, or refurbished healthcare facility is more than just a combination of passive elements that contribute to the institution's overall "look and feel." They add value to the facility's main mission, patient care.

There are numerous instances where healthcare facilities have factored in appealing elements into their spaces, however, it is imperative to prioritise design elements that promote patient care. Evidence-based design, or the integration of reliable research to impact built environments for enhancing patient outcomes, is the foundation of modern hospital interiors. 

A facility with design unity maintains a similar appearance and feel throughout all of its divisions and sectors. Maintaining continuity across “old” and “new” areas of healthcare facilities is crucial at a time when most healthcare construction projects involve expansions or renovations.

Comfort through design

A hospital is not only a place of medical care, but its environment hosts patients and visitors who can be overwhelmed with emotional highs, incessant fear. This creates a need for comfort which Fakeeh University Hospital in Dubai recognised. The hospital and medical university will be hosting art exhibits in its atrium. Photography, paintings, and sculptures are just a few of the interdisciplinary art genres featured in the exhibition. 

“The art exhibition has been on our agenda for a while now and we are glad to have launched this initiative, said Dr Fatih Mehmet Gul, CEO, Fakeeh University Hospital. “Fakeeh University Hospital’s design allows for a lot of open and calm spaces and we wanted to utilize this creatively and considerately. This initiative is an ideal opportunity to support UAE’s plethora of talent, along with providing a beautiful, soothing, and healing environment for our visitors.” 

The concept of healing architecture has gained prominence as research has found that patient outcomes improve when certain design decisions are made. 

Patients with bipolar disorder spent four days less in the hospital on average when they were assigned east-facing rooms that captured morning sunlight, according to an investigation conducted by neuropsychiatric doctors in Italy. Whereas in Sweden, an architect renovated a neonatal critical care unit in a hospital after shadowing the employees. Premature newborns' hospital stays were significantly reduced once the program was implemented.

In a study of aggressive patients, doctors found that patients whose rooms had posters displaying views of nature had 70 percent fewer sedative injections than those whose rooms had blank walls.

Safeguarding through design

Cleanability, which is associated with evidence-based design, is likely the most essential protection against disease transmission in environments that are naturally contaminated. 

Surface contamination that can contribute to healthcare-associated infections can be reduced by paying particular attention to the style of the furniture you choose (HAI). The furnishings and finishes of patient rooms are particularly vulnerable to infections. Seams and joints create an ideal environment for potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

Code compliance is mandatory for healthcare institutions. The safety of patients, visitors, and facility staff is crucial; thus, code compliance must come first in interior design projects. 

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