As the saying goes, a home is a house with harmony. Directly or indirectly our shelter and the roof over the head give us a sense of comfort and safety. Medical Facilities are not different either as it becomes a place for solutions that a person is trying to find physically, mentally, or psychologically. The exact architectural design of a medical facility, along with its techniques and infrastructure, and its influence on healthcare quality has received attention lately in health care. Various facets of the medical environment, like light, color, and the formation of spaces for privacy and social connection, inspired theories, methodologies, and designs far beyond the walls of the institution, according to the study “Architectural Study Project” conducted by the American Psychiatric Association in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects.

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According to a 2005 National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health study, around 5 percent of India’s population experiences common psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Five percent might seem less, but that’s nearly seven crores Indian citizens. Most of the causes are derived from physical and physiological illness. Unintentionally medical facilities’ designs play a major role in that.

To comprehend how architecture and design affect individuals psychologically, it is necessary to first understand the psychological impacts of various impulses on the nervous system. While the link between these operating systems and the psychological impacts of architecture and design on the brain may not be obvious at first, the pair play a critical role in stress management in modern humans.

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Being one of the hardest jobs and since doctors in India work for nearly 120 hours every week, even their mental stability and brain function are highly required. This will increase productivity and can enhance the precision of curing illnesses. Nurses, on the other hand, must run and reach around the wards in no time whenever required. Without any individual rooms, the nursing station is often an open space with the least ventilation ensuring no privacy. Reduced quality of treatment, compromised patient safety, patient dissatisfaction and increased turnover rates has been associated with doctor fatigue.

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Peace Island Medical Center, Washington set in a rural island with natural ventilation_©Archdaily

Bringing small changes while designing can bring dramatic effectiveness. Zoning the building space considering the connectivity, ventilation, and natural lighting can affect the building entirely. This will ensure the healing occurs quickly and will provide a cognitive and emotional response. Although windows serve the purpose of ventilation, having a natural expanse to view will elevate the psychological response.

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MASS Design Group Redesigns Hospital Spaces On The Fly To Protect Healthcare Workers_©World Architecture

Numerous scientific analyses in various contexts have confirmed the favorable impacts on human healthcare and function in response to biophilic design of the medical facilities. When applied to healthcare buildings, the reflection on biophilic design concepts is very intriguing. This is related not just to the increasing concentration of critical and anxiety elements in hospitals for patients, their families, and healthcare workers, but also to the fact that the hospital and the city are two different but interconnected systems that are visited and utilized by the very same people.

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Biophilic Hospital-Khoo Teck Puat Hospital_©Living-Future

Often, the rooms in the hospital are congested due to a lack of space. Ensuring that the building’s size, style, and services are ample will satisfy the various care needs of patients. Having enough floor area to walk and engage in slight movement increases the patient’s health restoration. Patients can benefit from the effective use of music and artwork to decrease sound pollution and improve characteristics that might lessen a patient’s duration of stay.

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Music Therapy_©Kellee Maize

Patient centeredness often lacks in the designing of medical facilities. To eradicate that, variable-acuity and single bedrooms can be used to make sure that there is enough space to accommodate the necessary number of family members. The acuity-adaptable patient room idea is a new healthcare approach in which a patient is treated in the same room from admission to discharge, irrespective of acuity level. This type of transfer adds to communication mistakes, patient confusion, disappointment, and crashes. The different levels of care are delivered to the patient in the acuity-adaptable patient room concept to eliminate or reduce these negative effects.

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Acuity Adaptable Room_©Medical Construction and Design

It is preferable not to have a single central nursing station to better fulfill the requirements of patients. Instead, the unit would include numerous scattered nurse workstations with supplies, linens, and equipment sections. Appropriately placed supplies and equipment may minimize tiredness and increase the efficiency of nurses by reducing the reliance on looking for supplies and moving from one area to another. More time with nurses and greater surveillance possibilities might help patients.

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Nursing Station scattered_©TigerPrints, Clemson University

Though it was highly recognizable that architecture and design created an impact in designing medical facilities, due to the industrial revolution over decades, medical facilities now behave, function, and look like a factory. Only in recent years, the trend of looking into patients’ psychological and social necessities are considered while treating any kind of illness. In the coming generations, hospital administrators will be engaged in various medical development projects to address shifting market requirements associated with an older population. There is some evidence that the architectural environment influences patient and family judgments of the quality of treatment received during a hospital stay. There is also some data that doctor and nurse comfort with the physical environment is connected to overall well-being and work satisfaction, both of which are important because they influence patient care.

References:

  1. Reiling, J., Hughes, R.G. and Murphy, M.R. (2008). The Impact of Facility Design on Patient Safety. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2633/.
  2. Ramsden, E. (2018). Designing for Mental Health: Psychiatry, Psychology and the Architectural Study Project. Preventing Mental Illness, [online] pp.209–235. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538043/.
  3. HealthManagement.org (n.d.). Radiology Management, ICU Management, Healthcare IT, Cardiology Management, Executive Management. [online] HealthManagement. Available at: https://healthmanagement.org/c/imaging/issuearticle/the-influence-of-design-and-architecture-on-health.
  4. Ricci, N. (n.d.). Scholarship @ Claremont The Psychological Impact of Architectural Design. [online] Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2850&context=cmc_theses.
  5. Totaforti, S. (2018). Applying the benefits of biophilic theory to hospital design. City, Territory and Architecture, 5(1).
  6. www.bdcnetwork.com. (2017). Treating the whole person: Designing modern mental health facilities | Building Design + Construction. [online] Available at: https://www.bdcnetwork.com/blog/treating-whole-person-designing-modern-mental-health-facilities [Accessed 16 Oct. 2021].
  7. resources.wellcertified.com. (n.d.). International WELL Building Institute. [online] Available at: https://resources.wellcertified.com/articles/understanding-the-impact-of-design-on-mental-health/.
  8. Bonuel, N. and Cesario, S. (2013). Review of the Literature. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 36(2), pp.251–271.
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