Trends in Healthcare Interior Design

by Sarah Kathro
Farnsworth Group

Healthcare facilities accommodate skillful staff, current technologies and, most significantly, clients. Along with advances in medicine, healthcare environments can play a vital role in assisting with the care and treatment of patients. Facilities are not standing up to their full potential if they are viewed solely for function. Properly designed healthcare facilities have numerous positive outcomes, ranging from staff productivity and efficiency, to the healing time of a patient, as well as the overall experience.

The traditional sterile, uninviting environment can often prohibit a healthy and productive recovery. In recent years, hospitals and other care providers have started moving “beyond function” by transforming their facilities into healing environments. Providers are realizing that patients’ needs and comfort, along with ease of use for maintenance and staff, are essential to recovery. To achieve this transformation, the medical community is looking for inspiration from commercial markets and the natural environment.

Healthcare administrators are taking a page from the residential and hospitality markets, which are focused around comfort, relaxation and the client’s needs. Enhancing the environment makes for a more enjoyable stay, and these core values are being transmitted into the healthcare environment. Lower noise levels and comfortable lighting have been directly linked to the success of patients’ recovery and the time related to the healing process itself. Furniture selection also plays a significant role, not only for the comfort of the patient, but for friends and family whose support and positive thinking is needed during a patient’s stay.

Modern ideas and traditional values collaborate through the design to emphasize the quality of living. Product selection should focus on durability and purpose while representing therapeutic and healing colors and patterns. Collaboration of furniture layouts optimize staff efficiency while providing the best possible views and access for patients. Lighting is selected to reflect the style of the facility and can provide a cohesive feel. In order to achieve maximum comfort without jeopardizing the function of a well-lit space, proper design is incorporated along with the placement of fixtures and how the light is diffused.

A number of healthcare facilities are taking the indoor environment one step further by incorporating the outdoor environment. Healthcare is looking to the natural environment for healing motives, inspiration and supporting healthier surroundings. Design based on the natural environment not only creates playful and soothing color palettes, but also takes advantage of items nature provides free of charge. A refreshing breeze, a view of the outdoors, and plenty of natural sunlight keep patients in touch with nature and often gives them an escape from their conditions. Using naturally-based products helps the world as a whole, while keeping the indoor air quality clean and free of chemicals.

The healthcare industry is continually cultivating new healing environments, while existing care facilities are forever expanding. It is important to stay competitive by implementing current trends, and most importantly, by altering philosophies from designing a functioning space to creating a healing place. iBi

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