Hospitals are for healing, but as every patient knows, it's important to heal in a comfortable and therapeutic environment. This concept is well understood throughout the healthcare field, as patient comfort is a huge indicator of their level of satisfaction with their care, which in turn heavily impacts HCAHPS scores. It's in a hospital's best interest to create a facility that is not only technologically advanced - allowing for state-of-the-art treatment - but also a comfortable and, in many ways, therapeutic place for patients to spend many nights.
As healthcare design evolves, facility design experts have identified three things that make a facility a therapeutic place for patients to relax and heal.
The overall design theme of a facility should take into account many things:
Evidence-based design practices and studies have shown both natural light and choice in color to heavily effect the comfort of patients. The right lighting and color choices in a setting can create a relaxing environment that makes a hospital facility seem more like a home and less like a place away from home. Research shows that exposing patients to natural light during hospital stays makes them more likely to be in a good mood, reduce their anxiety and allow them to sleep better. Even switching from long fluorescent lighting to LED lighting (or other lights that are more commonly used in residential homes) can make patients feel more like they are in a hotel, rather than a healthcare facility.
Certain color palettes also help reduce anxiety and offer numerous other benefits to patients of all ages. Color can help encourage patients to get out of bed, drive them to take more healthy actions and find their way more easily around a facility.
Whether patients need to find their way around the facility or learn more about their treatment, discharge goals, care providers, etc., creating an information rich environment that is focused on patient communication will relax patients and make them more satisfied with their stay. Adequate wayfinding signage and patient room whiteboards are two crucial pieces of equipment designers can place within a facility to help keep patients informed, increase communication between physicians/nurses and patients and help them find their way.
Whiteboards are particularly good at increasing patient communication and reducing patient anxiety because they allow patients to stay up to date regarding their care, meal/medication times, treatment plans, care team information and much more.