When it comes to the future of healthcare environments, having the right interior design is vital. Although interior design is most closely associated with aesthetics, a better design can also mean better treatment for patients and a pleasanter workplace for staff when it comes to healthcare.
Patient Influenced Design
Modern healthcare facilities can often look and feel like luxury hotels. This is because the healthcare environment designers of today want to create a space where patients feel calm and comfortable instead of worried and anxious. These can include design features such as –
- Open and inviting reception spaces
- Soft lighting instead of harsh overhead lighting
- Artwork and plant life
By removing the dark corridors and unflattering overhead lighting, replacing these instead with open areas and artwork, studies have shown that patients not only feel better faster, but staff feels less stressed too. Other key components when it comes to patient influenced design include –
- Making sure patient rooms get enough sunlight
- Covering blank walls with nature-based artwork
- More private spaces for families of patients to stay, rest or mourn
By focusing on patient needs, architects and interior designers have helped create modern healthcare environments that now play a key role in faster healing times for patients.
Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash
The digital transformation in healthcare environments has increased exponentially, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The need for patients, families and medical staff to interact and be treated whilst still keeping one another safe has been the crux of this issue. Design features include the use of digital patient reception areas, where patients can check themselves in for triage without the need to speak to another person first. Medical robots are also now being used in several hospital spaces to fulfill different medical duties as well. These tasks can include surgical procedures and care functionality, and sophisticated computer systems to guard against cyberattacks. As healthcare facilities hold a large amount of patient data, all designers must consider adding in a high level of technological infrastructure to cope with the level of cybersecurity that is now required.
Clean and Cleanable Design
Clean lines, simple colors, and wide-open spaces are just a few key components that made the modern design so aesthetically pleasing. But keeping areas clean is also paramount when it comes to the design of future healthcare environments. For example, hand sanitizing stations have been added to the most entry and exit points, lessening the likelihood of contamination from opening and closing doors. Choosing the right furniture is also really important, as some materials can harbor germs, whilst others repel them. Natural materials, such as wood, are harder to keep hygienically clean as they are porous, so designers often choose antimicrobial-coated materials instead. Opting for designs that incorporate single items rather than those with lots of grooves and connection points is also a good idea, as bacteria and other pathogens can hide in any small crevices that are hard to reach and clean.
Photo by David Fintz on Unsplash
Over the years, healthcare environments have always been at the mercy of budget cuts, often creating a space that seems disjointed and jarring. Most patients will notice this discrepancy between the original part of a facility versus the addition of any newer buildings or extensions. Modern designers are now making sure all healthcare environments are looking as cohesive as possible to combat this. A cohesive environment makes a facility seem more streamlined and professional, which helps to improve patient confidence in their care. Key features of the cohesive design include –
- Making sure all departments look distinct but still part of the same overall design
- Using the same furniture and artwork themes throughout
- Creating waiting areas and patient rooms that still feel part of the rest of the building
Cohesive design can often be a work in progress. However, little touches like using the same artist’s paintings to brighten up blank spaces or creating a logical color scheme are simple ways to make the space feel more inviting and cohesive.
Helping to combine compliance with cutting-edge modern designs, the future of healthcare environments is a fusion of the digital and the tactile. Whilst all interior designs for medical facilities and clinics need to consider cleanliness as a number one priority, this doesn’t mean that the space has to be simply functional. In fact, many healthcare environments are now looking better than ever and are promoting better care for patients and a better working environment for staff.
Author Bio: This article was written by Martin O’Callaghan of Wood Flooring Ireland. Martin has over two decades of experience designing bespoke herringbone flooring floors for households and businesses.