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We are spending more time indoors and online. Recent studies suggest that nature can help our brains and bodies to stay healthy. The University of California Berkeley posted an entry on their Greater Good in Action blog titled How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative by Jill Suttie (PDF here ). She notes to five basic points: Being in nature decreases stress, Nature makes you less brooding, Nature relieves attention fatique and increases creativity, Nature may help you to be kind and generous, and Nature makes you “feel more alive”.


Art in Healthcare, Healthcare Design Magazine, December 2011 – Art is arguably the first thing people react to when they approach or enter a facility. When the process for selecting and integrating art with healthcare design fully considers context, art adds value well beyond a visually aesthetic appeal.

Detailed study with tons of sources from the National Endowment for the Arts


Research on noise in hospitals and other health care settings shows that patients and clinical staff identify noise as a major stressor. Auditory Assistance: Strategies to reduce hospital noise problems, by Benjamin Davenny, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, in the January 2010 issue of Health Facilities Management magazine addresses a number of factors in designing acoustic solutions for health care facilities. Moreover, traditional infection control solutions often work against a healthy acoustic environment. For example, surfaces covered with hard materials for easy cleaning generally reflect rather than absorb sound. Likewise, acoustical duct linings for muffling mechanical noises are prohibited between final filters and room air devices in many hospital areas. Still, there are a number of actions a design team can take to help reduce noise levels in the environment of care.


Healing Environments: mitigating patient stress, improving medical outcomes
Kelly M. Pyrek – Providing a cost-focused platform for the administration of technology and medical intervention at the expense of the psychological and social needs of patients has been the sole purpose of modern healthcare, asserts Roger S. Urlich, PhD, Directory of the Center of Health Systems and Design and Texas A&M University. A discussion of the Plantree model.



Evidence-Based Design points to healing approaches to hospital design. Four Levels of Evidence-Based Design, an AIA article written by D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, FACHA. Like evidence-based medical research, evidence-based design is based on data, interprets evidence, shares and publishes results, and establishes standards in an academic setting. These assessments help architects and designers create a hospital environment that is aesthetic, economical, and contributes to healing.

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Growth of therapeutic design for hospitals. Nature scenes add to holistic approach at Mad River, Eureka Times-Standard January 12, 2003. Many studies show that stress-free patients heal faster, and paying attention to such positive patient outcomes — and thus lowered costs — has led to a boom in the therapeutic design industry. Experts in the field encourage health care administrators to consider holistic approaches to patient care.


Design that ignores aesthetic needs may worsen patient outcomes. What does research show about healing environments? OR Design and Construction, March 2002. Atrium’s, artwork, and hotel-type amenities are part of a design trend in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Is this a fad, or does it make a difference in patient care?


Patient-focused Healing: Integrating Caring and Curing in Health Care, OR Design and Construction, March 2002, Nancy Moore and Henrietta Komras. Research shows that design that ignores basic psychological needs may lead to anxiety, elevated blood pressure and an increase in the use of pain-relieving drugs. Conversely, a warm and nurturing setting induces a relaxation response that can reduce medication levels and even decrease lengths of stay.

Improving Decor and Layout Can Have Impact on Care. Healthy Hospital Designs, The Wall Street Journal, Marketplace, 11/27/02, Motoko Rich. Fewer fractures and infections. Hospitals, long a bastion of bad design and dreary décor, are finding that improving their layouts and their looks can translate into better health for their patients.

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1999 and prior

JCAHO manual welcomes healing environments. Interiors, Doctored Design,Hospitals & Health Networks, Ken Garber, February 1999. As far as JCAHO is concerned, a “supportive” environment is now just what the doctor ordered. The Joint commission published major revisions to its hospital accreditation manual, encouraging hospitals to create welcoming environments that support patient dignity. The changes followed years of work by the Center for Health Design in Martinez, CA., which promotes patient-friendly environments. “Most hospitals don’t take patients’ needs and preferences into account when it comes to design,” says CHD founder and former president Wayne Ruga. “Health care people think of environmental solutions in terms of cost. It’s much more a matter of making strategic investments.”

Interior design can impact patient well being. Creating health and health promoting hospitals: a worthy challenge for the twenty-first century, International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 12/2/99 viii-xix, Trevor Hancock. Interior design and aesthetics can have a dramatic impact on the mental and social well being of patients, their families and hospital staff. The use of color, texture and form to create pleasing environments … are increasingly important in the health care sector.

Providing a groundbreaking approach to reinventing health care, this book is a practical guide to placing patient healing back at the center of the hospital’s mission. Drawing on a wealth of practical experience, the authors show health care professionals how to decrease costs and improve quality by restructuring hospital services around patients and their needs and by utilizing design and architecture to enhance the healing environment. Using the core concepts of systems theory, extensive research, and lessons from pioneering hospitals, they present state-of-the-art health care practices that heal as well as cure.

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