4 Healthcare Design Build Solutions That Cater to Patient Needs
Healthcare design and construction are ever-changing fields, increasingly becoming more and more centered on patient needs and desires. This is extremely positive and we’re so glad the industry is starting to mirror what we’ve always believed: that the patient experience should come first. To that end, new ideas are being introduced to make this a reality. Here are four present and future trends in healthcare facility design that will benefit your patients, their visitors and staff alike.
1. Comfort is key.
As you think about healthcare design and construction, particularly with new builds, think about the freedom you have. Not only can you plan for inviting places for patients and their families to spend time together, but you can also design the entire facility to feel more like home. No one wants to be in a sterile, whitewashed environment that feels cold and uncomfortable. You have the power to transform your facility to a space that is warm, comfortable and healing.
Make sure your design includes outdoor seating, cafes that don’t feel like cafeterias, and welcoming lobbies where visitors can relax and unwind. Double-check that you’ve accounted for plenty of electrical outlets and even a few charging stations so visitors can keep their batteries charged and stay in touch with those who aren’t at the facility. Design with the goals of comfort and convenience for patients and their families, and you’ll end up with the right design.
2. Emphasizing natural light.
One of the ways to bring a calming effect into your facility is by increasing the natural light. Fluorescent lights have a tendency to give people headaches and make the environment feel harsh, whereas natural light is soothing and uplifting. In all of your healthcare design projects, plan for as much natural light as possible.
Hand-in-hand with this pursuit, however, is the recognition of privacy needs and planning to prevent too much direct sun. Make sure you use tinted or frosted glass when appropriate, and also have sun shades and blinds in place so patients can control the level of natural light they have in their rooms.
Main lobbies and common areas should be designed for maximum light, with – again – a healthy respect for the fact that direct sunlight can be piercing. There should be something in place to temper the light when the sun is at its fiercest.
3. Giving patients control.
Another one of the present and future trends in healthcare facility design is personalizing the patient experience. This is already in full swing, but it’s sure to only increase in the coming years as we find more ways to implement it. By allowing for personalization of a patient’s setting, you empower them with control over their environment. This can be a much-needed feeling for someone who is largely told what to do and when all day, and can do a lot to improve the experience.
One way to do this is by bringing in interactive touch screens to the patient rooms. By way of such intuitive devices, patients can change the lighting in their rooms, switch up the music they listen to (and the volume), order the food they want – and so forth. It gives them options and therefore gives them more control over their experience.
4. Bringing the outdoors indoors.
Finally, in any healthcare design build, remember that people in facilities often miss being outside. Being confined to a hospital room or medical center lobby can make them feel isolated and stir crazy. One solution is to give them a glimpse of nature, from right inside their room or building.
Whether you plan for a full-scale arboretum in the center of your building, or design a flower-lined walking path through a courtyard, there are nearly endless ways to accomplish this. Of course having dedicated spaces that are actually outside in the fresh air among plants can do wonders for a patient’s spirit, but even a view of a mountain or a grassy lawn from inside their room can make an impact. When all of these options are exhausted, disguising digital signage as a “window” or portal to the exterior of a building may be an effective way to accomplish the end goal.
In your next healthcare design build, how will you cater to patient needs and improve the experience? We’re here to help if you’d like a partner with ideas and expertise to help you bring your patient-centric plans to life.