The Architecture Of The Hospital – It’s Therapeutic

If you read my interview with Michael Graves, it might have started your mind thinking about any of your visits to the hospital and all the problems you encounter. While many architects I’ve known have focused on the healthcare business over the years, I think it’s interesting to see the discussions of this topic move into more mainstream literature.

I was reading Fast Company’s article called Spaces That Heal which talks about redesigning hospitals (and it’s not their first article on this topic). It had several interesting points:

  • Future rooms may all be private. (Thank goodness! And, studies show that you get more infections in rooms with other people.)
  • These future rooms may move from being high tech clinically to being high tech for the consumer – moving shades, controlling the temperature, interactive walls for TV and Internet.
  • While a lot of research to support this has been out there for years, it’s finally been the CMS shift in focus to patient satisfaction (i.e., experience) which is making this happen.
  • Colors, shapes, art, and layout can all contribute not only to the experience but actually to health outcomes and recovery.

The article talks about HOK (where I did an architecture internship) and their project with the University Medical Center of Princeton to create a new patient room layout.

A related article goes on to provide more on the research on this topic…

Although architecture and design substantially contribute to patient and staff safety, efficiency, reduced infections, reduced patient falls, and improve patient and staff interactions, it has been found that music, aroma, and access to nature can alleviate stress for patients, families, and staff. Hospitals are increasingly providing access to green spaces or gardens, which have been proven to reduce stress (reducing blood pressure) and improve patient satisfaction for patients, families, and staff. Even viewing nature and trees has been shown to reduce hospital length of stay and result in fewer medications for patients.

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