There is growing evidence about the many benefits of healing environments that are designed around the needs of patients, family and staff. Healthcare organizations are changing the way they design spaces to provide more welcoming environments that reduce stress levels and promote healing in order to improve patient outcomes, increase staff efficiency and morale and create a positive experience that attracts new patients. Because the physical environment is the patient’s first impression of the facility, it becomes one of the most important factors in the how the patient perceives quality of care and the overall satisfaction they will have with the facility.
Some healing design elements that you can incorporate into the healthcare setting include the following:
- Exposure to nature. This includes windows with views to outside landscapes, interior or exterior gardens or water features, aquariums and art with nature themes
- Soothing Interior. Some ways to create a soothing interior is to provide natural light, use soothing colors (like blues and greens), pleasant sounds and temperature regulation
- Reducing Environmental Stressors. Some things that cause people stress in the healthcare setting include noise from medical equipment, poor/harsh lighting, poor air quality and medicinal smells which can bring about reminders of past negative experiences. By offsetting these stressors with design elements, you can have a positive impact on a patient or family members’ experience
- Creating a Home-like Environment. By providing comfortable home-like seating in waiting areas, movable, convertible chairs that can be used for family visits in patient rooms and customized cabinets that hide medical equipment, patients and families will feel more at-ease and secure
Benefits to the staff
When you use design elements to create a healing environment for patients, not only does it improve patient outcomes but it will also improve staff efficiency and morale. An environment that is welcoming and healing will show your staff that you are committed not only to the quality and care of your patients, but the well-being of your staff as well.