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Redesigning Healthcare Environments: the Changing Face of Hospital Rooms

Doctors and other healthcare providers have known for decades that an effective “bedside manner” contributes to healing and recovery.  Patients who trust their doctors and feel cared for have less stress and are more likely to follow directions, like taking their medicine and keeping scheduled appointments. 

Increasingly, architects and interior designers are discovering that the same applies to healthcare environments, like patient rooms in hospitals.  The latest trends in healthcare interior design reflect a balance between spaces which are at once functional and aesthetically pleasing.  Here are 4 trends which are reshaping the design of patient rooms.

  1. Mirroring patients’ home environments:  the traditionally cold and stark hospital room is giving way to spaces which look more like the patient’s bedroom at home.  Increasingly, patients are encountering rooms with full-out furniture collections, like matching beds, dressers and night stands, use of color palettes and matching artwork on the walls. 
  2. Customizing rooms:  some hospitals are taking the home look even further by customizing rooms based on individual patient preferences.  They simply give patients a chance to complete a preference survey prior to their admission, asking them for example what their favorite color is, or what magazines they prefer to read, or what flowers they like, then giving them rooms which match their preferences.  Patients can add to this effect by bringing family photographs and other personal items with them at the time of their arrival.
  3. Including family members in design planning:  hospital patients are more comfortable with rooms that reflect the warmth and look of their rooms at home.  But there’s one thing they have at home that’s often missing from their hospital rooms, namely family members surrounding and encouraging them.  Hospitals are responding by making patient rooms family friendly.  Increasingly, waiting areas are more decentralized and more aesthetically pleasing.  In more forward thinking hospitals, patient rooms now include sleeper sofas so family members can spend extended periods of time with patients.
  4. Varying lighting to reduce pain and fatigue:  hospital patients are typically exposed to very low levels of light which tends to increase, pain, fatigue and poor sleep patterns, this according to a recent study from the Cleveland Clinic.  Some newly constructed hospitals, like Cleveland’s Arnold Miller Family Pavilion, incorporate much larger windows to increase patients’ exposure to natural light and promote healing.

Innovative interior design firms are leading the way to create patient room settings that carefully balance caregivers’ need for patient access and visibility with patients’ needs for comfort and familiarity. 

For more information about the latest trends in healthcare environments, contact us today.