Healthcare facilities have much to consider from a design perspective, especially when taking into account major issues such as physician engagement and the patient experience. Modern healthcare facility design is pulling away from what was once a sterile-looking environment that can be intimidating to the patient into a more holistic approach designed to enhance the experience for both operators and end users.
Creating a calming environment is a top priority in hospitals and treatment centers, given that reduced stress has been shown to shorten patient stays. Firms have worked to bring nature into the patient experience with indoor and outdoor gardens, glazed exteriors that provide views and light, and the use of natural materials such as wood and stone.
There’s no shortage of interest in wellness initiatives when speaking of the typical corporate office, and this is also becoming the case when it comes to the healthcare environment. However, in the stress-filled healthcare field, facility operators are finding that adding amenities isn’t enough to encourage use – a policy strategy should pair with the design strategy, per Building Design & Construction:
…many providers are concerned about the health and wellness of their staff and are beginning to introduce staff gardens, decompression rooms and other wellness-focused amenities. However, if there aren’t policies in place to encourage their use, they may not achieve their full impact. Similarly, simply changing policy to facilitate staff mobility and flexibility to conduct charting work remotely can help with time management and wellness. But again, without the policy change, technology or design changes can only go so far.
Interior design trends like prefabricated partitions that can be moved to coincide with patient needs or make it simpler for future renovations; centralized locations that ensure better collaboration for areas such as nurse operations; and use of materials that prevent the spread of infections, like anti-microbial coatings, are all top trends healthcare facility managers should embrace, according to HMC Architects.
Building for adaptability of spaces with consideration of future is also a key area for healthcare operators, according to a JLL report, as cited by Buildings:
As more outpatient facilities pop up all over the country, these spaces are becoming more flexible. Forward-looking healthcare providers are building or buying facilities that potentially could be repurposed. After all, today’s freestanding emergency room may need to become an outpatient clinic tomorrow. As demand for services evolves, real estate will need to evolve as well.