“Education, housing, and hospitals are the most important things for society.” – Zaha Hadid
Healing architecture is a concept where the built environment, the spaces around us has the ability to impact human health and mind.
There are many buildings that create a negative impact on human mind and hospitals are one of them.
Hospitals are used by every individual at some point and the long stays and isolations can be very depressing for us and so it is important to have “healing environment” in hospitals.
Healthcare buildings are needed to be designed as a livable space for patients.
Why do we need to feel like we are in a hospital?
Why can’t we feel like we are on a vacation when in hospitals? Why can’t the stay at hospitals feel more like hotel stays?
The whole point of healing architecture in hospital design is to improve patient experience.
Hospitals are designed to provide high quality care and efficiency to people for quick recovery. But the power of architecture to enhance patient’s overall recovery is often overlooked.
“An environment targeted at the patient’s psychology.”
A man-made structure situated in the natural environment is the enhancement of the mental health.
Why is it important to have healing environment in hospitals?
The term “Healing Architecture” is adopted to create an environment that is physically healthy and psychologically appropriate for us. A healing environment in hospitals indirectly contributes to patients’ outcome such as shorter length of stay, reduced stress, increased patients’ satisfaction.
Hospitals differ from other building types; it is important to understand the relation between the various parts of the hospital.
Creating a healing environment for quick recovery of patient through architecture and design can be the best sustainable approach.
Focus of hospital design-
The focus of hospital design should be to improve the experience of being a patient, health care provider, or any other user of the health care system for the betterment of patients. It is important to create an environment that improves human frame of mind and helps in human comfort.
Some of the key outcomes for hospital design architecture should be-
- To outline the physical aspects in hospital design.
- To enhance day light in hospital architecture.
- Free flow of people to various departments without any disturbance.
- Work interactively with complex programming, combining spaces for care, patient experience, work environment, logistics, and architectural systems.
Problems that we face in hospitals-
- Matching the results of hospital building design to needs and expectations has become exceedingly complex.
- Hospitals are a dangerous place to stay in from both physical and psychological point of view.
Things to focus on while designing hospitals-
- Light and color-
There are two aspects of sight that can have the greatest overall impact on a patient’s wellbeing. As we enter in a room, it gives us a vibe which depends on the overall color and lighting of the room.
- Patient Safety-
Visibility to patients is one important way to improve patient’s safety. A well-designed hospital can make proper use of safeguards/ barriers that may help in reducing infectivity risks, injuries from falls and medical errors. Every step, in a hospital is crucial to the health and safety of the patient whether it is the step of a nurse or a doctor. So, hospital design should also better patient safety by reducing the staff stress and improvising the working environment.
- Infection Control-
Studies have proven that controlling the spread of infection in hospital design architecture is very important. Over the years, the introduction of air-conditioning, the creation of specialist function rooms such as anesthetics, and the separation between dirty and clean areas were incorporated to minimize infection spread in hospitals. One out of every 20 patients admitted to a hospital picks up an infection. There are few antibacterial materials that can be used to keep the hospital environment safe.
How can we incorporate healing architecture in hospital design?
- Incorporating art-
Art can be a mode to contribute to the healing environment. We can add imagery that celebrates life, amuses, and imparts messages of peace, hope, tranquility, comfort, and dignity. Art in the form of gardens, sculptures, and water features such as waterfalls and ponds can also be effective.
Ventilation affects the element of smell that is spread in any space. Most environments have a particular smell and in hospitals medicinal smells can bring about a level of anxiety amongst patients. Studies have demonstrated that odors impact on people’s health and well-being. In terms of design, hospitals have areas of residual bad smells, for example crowded spaces or day rooms where inadequate ventilation has left unpleasant odors. It has been identified that deep plan buildings are even more susceptible to residual smells.
Also, the demand of hospital cooling is increasing, hence cross ventilation should be the key priority.
Hospitals should have easy circulation, without any confusion and chaos. The best way is to divide different departments in different wings so that the hospital traffic doesn’t create much disturbance.
Another great way is to have vertical movement rather than horizontal zoning. In other words, the more you spread your ground coverage, the denser the hospital plan becomes and it makes lots of walking and becomes time consuming, whereas if its vertically planned, people can easily reach their desired place with the help of lifts and staircase.
To maximize the organized flow of people to the upper floors, one best way is to divide the lifts according to odd and even no. of floors. So that people who want to go to floors 1,3,5,7 can use one lift and people who want to go to floors 2,4,6,8 can take anther lift. These design implementations can give a better experience to the users.
- Connectivity to outdoor spaces-
Nature is the best way to heal. Connecting hospital spaces with outdoor spaces can make the interiors breathable. We get depressed sitting inside our rooms for whole day and if same happens in hospitals it can affect us badly. Getting up and moving around is essential for recovery. A person on bed cannot completely recover. Planning a small garden or a balcony attached to hospital rooms where patients can come out and have a great walk or breathe in fresh air will definitely make a difference. A good design can turn any dead or boring space into fun. Providing some activity zones where patients can come and enjoy spending time can enhance their stay. For instance, an acupressure garden can also improve human health and make them feel enjoyable at the same time.
We just can’t settle for controlling the illness, it is equally important to get rid of the trauma caused by medical procedures.
Our care spaces are demanding to broaden the scope.
Hospital architecture that can soothe the patient is the need of the future.