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The Importance of Facility Design to Physician and Patient Morale
Healthcare construction is set to exceed $41 billion in 2018, according to industry data. From microhospitals in rural areas to medical villages in cities, there’s much in the works.
For medical organizations currently building or planning to build, it pays to give extra attention to facility design. In fact, it could be what separates your hospital or doctor’s office from others.
Here’s why facility design is so important for your healthcare organization, and how you can turn your environment into an asset.
Cleanliness goes a long way
As Robert Wachter, professor and chair of UC San Francisco Department of Medicine, notes, “preventing infections is probably the most important design feature for patient outcomes — like easy-to-clean rooms and easy access to hand gel dispensers.”
Your facility must have a design that encourages cleanliness, as it reduces the potential for infection greatly. From specialized lighting fixtures that kill bacteria to infection-resistant surfaces, like copper alloy, there are many ways to design your medical space to enhance infection control.
In addition to preventing infections, what cleanliness does is allow your patients to relax and feel confident they’re in good hands. It also enables your physicians to focus on what matters: treating the issue that patient came in for.
Space makes everything better
Research has shown that the presence of friends and family helps with recovery from surgery and illness. This is precisely why hospital rooms must be built with space for loved ones to be comfortable during a visit.
Also, creating areas where visitors and patients can relax, such as game rooms, TV lounges and cafes, can allow the patient to get out and enjoy the day. This leads to improved mood and greater motivation to get well.
Space in the room makes it easier for physicians, nurses and other staff to operate and interact with patients. Everything from moving equipment to administering medicine to delivering food becomes faster.
Plants and natural light are a must
Natural light provides the body with vitamin D, which is vital to the immune system. Research published by NC State University details how it improves productivity, helps you sleep and elevates your mood. Patients and physicians can both benefit from a design that incorporates lots of natural light.
Plants and nature can be another powerful positive force at your healthcare facility. As a report from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation states, immersing in nature can help by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and accelerating the recovery process.
On top of natural light, find ways to bring nature to the hospital. Have plants throughout the facility, plant a garden or create a walking path through the woods.
Aesthetics enhance the experience
Walk into the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and you find gorgeous artwork on the wall, a modern, amenity-filled waiting room and mood-lifting color schemes. It’s simply a comfortable place to be, and that’s important for both patients and physicians.
The way a place looks has a direct effect on mood. It’s worth taking the time — and hiring an interior designer — to get the aesthetics right, because happy patients and physicians mean better outcomes for your facility.
To connect better with patients and staff, you could even let them have a say in the design. This enables them to bring a little bit of home to the hospital. For instance, you could let physicians choose artwork or plants, and you can give surveys to patients to see what they would like.
Making your facility design an asset
To get the most out of their physicians and give their patients the best experience and treatment, healthcare facilities must make facility design a key part of their strategy. By focusing on being sanitary and safe and by intelligently integrating design touches that are proven to lift spirits and help with healing, hospitals can turn their facility’s atmosphere into a big positive.