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Can design heal? Improving hospitals through conscious design
There is still an unfortunate statistic which plagues hospitals: 30% of patients that enter the ICU are being infected by non-treatment related infections. This means that patients are being infected while they are in a hospital, slowing down the healing process as well as increasing the chances of death. Therefore, there is still plenty of scope where design can influence the wellbeing and healing process of patients.
In this discussion we will look at hospital design from two perspectives; the first will be practical design practices that address both flow and distribution to avoid the spread of infection and reduce stress of hospital staff. Secondly, we will look at the human elements of healing such as calmness and tranquillity that can be influenced by design.
There are plenty of examples, such as the Viken Centre in Noway, which treats patients who have suffered from trauma; part of the healing practice is through the design and location of the centre. There is also the Mayo Clinic in the United States, which has used biophilic design elements such as light and plants to augment the healing experience of the hospital.