Esther Sternberg once quoted, “If a place can make you happy, can it also make you well?” He wished to highlight how spaces have the power to heal us. Spaces affect feelings. In a hospital, where intense emotions govern the behavior of a person, things such as material, color, landscape and light play a very crucial role in calming down the senses. In a clinical setup, the patient’s experience is often undervalued and overshadowed by the functional needs of medical treatments. Whereas, it is proven time and again that the human body has an incredible ability to “self-heal” when put into positive healing environments.
The environment of a hospital is found to be extremely stressful, suffocating, worrying and anxious. People in a hospital are welcomed by forbidding, institutional rooms with a strange bed, fluorescent lights and cold hard floor. Stress can be one of the most influential factors while dealing with illnesses. Hospital settings create a sense of avoidance; they are often sterile, unfamiliar environments that limit movement and self-expression.
To undo this, we present to you 10 design transformation ideas that can upscale your healthcare space planning.
1. Make room for some landscape
Nature is one of the greatest healers. Having a design that allows the greens to blend with your building works wonders. Tlin hospitals, therapeutic gardens can be designed to increase feelings of control in visitors by providing temporary escape. A temporary escape insinuates a degree of privacy where one’s mind can wander away from the current situation. Therapeutic gardens incorporate design for social support by presenting spaces that are conducive to both group interaction and offer privacy. Natural distractions can be incorporated into Therapeutic garden design by focusing on views from windows.
2. Bask in the color splash
Colour has a profound effect on moods and emotions, while some colors are depressing, the others are uplifting. The way one deals with stress and feelings are directly affected by hormones as well as the brain chemicals circulating in the body. Colors relate us to emotions. While warm colors such as red, yellow and orange resonate warmth; blue, green and purple bring in calmness. Also, gold and silver are the colors of the highest vibrations and provide positive energy to the people.
3. Work on the odor
Hospital corridors and rooms have a typical chemical infused sterile odor. The dry unfamiliar odor brings in an urge to move out of the surrounding at the earliest. This can be corrected by planning for a good fragrant landscape besides corridors. It can also be looked after by having room fresheners placed at regular intervals to allow a good circulation of air.
4. Interactive corridors
The long passage-like corridors can be avoided in design. More importance can be given to encourage interaction with the space and create break-out spaces for people to spread over. You can plan for a mural or a 3d installation that lets people deviate their attention for a while and think peacefully.
5. Ample space for visitors
Hospitals often face the issue of over-crowded lobbies and long queues. Whether it is at the entrance or bill clearance counter there is always no room for more people. It is therefore advisable to deliberately design lobbies that are accommodated 10% more than expected people. Also, the visitor facilities can be improved by not considering them an unnecessary crowd. The more we plan for detail the easier it becomes for the hospital to function in the long run.
6. Sterilized yet creative
A little tinge of creativity is an excellent healer. Any attempt that makes the patient feel at home or related to the outside world is a good design concept. While many may condemn this; but even operation theatres can be designed creatively. Keeping in accordance with all technicalities, one can always have a colorful panel fixed on the wall or ceiling to divert the patient’s attention. Even painting lobbies in nature hues can help them connect with the regular things in life that they have been always living with.
7. Lighting transformations
Light is the purest healing form of force. A balance of all the color vibrations in sunlight is necessary to nourish energetically. Patients’ rooms play a crucial role in the recovery process. The right light can make a great del of contribution towards making patients feel secure and at ease, in spite of being in an unfamiliar environment. A good, positive environment also leaves its mark on doctors who provide treatment, care staff and visitors. Light becomes an optimistic factor its color, direction and its intensity are appropriate to particular situations and produce various room scenes for human well being.
8. Better fenestration
Hospitals are characterized by limited natural ventilation. Although it is preferable to have temperature control in hospitals to maintain sterility, it is also necessary to have openings wherever possible. Fenestration needs to be planned to allow adequate light and air to circulate within the building. For example, a view of a brick wall from the hospital window would lead to boredom, lack of connectivity to the outside world and loneliness. However, replacing the brick wall with a tree brings the outdoor environment within the built space. It creates an interaction between the two spaces and reduces stress and boredom.
9. Eat-in space
In India, one can always find the patient’s relatives loitering around in the corridors or outside the building to eat. It would be great to incorporate a small eat-in room where the relative could sit at ease and have their meal. Although it is not primarily a hospital’s concern, such petty issues do create congestion in the building and make people uncomfortable. No one likes to eat in a room full of I’ll people or on the street. So, by designing a small pantry space, a whole lot of mess can be saved.
Hospitals are one of the most complex buildings to design. This is the last but not the topic of least importance. There is a lot happening in the backdoors and service rooms of hospitals. As a designer, one must begin to plan the service core at the concept level itself. Narrow down the position of linen chutes, garbage chutes, medical waste chutes, ducts for medical gas supply, HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Make sure that there is enough space on-site for a sewage treatment plant and waste disposal.