Wellness is not about treating illness, but about creating a psychologically supportive healthcare environment that can promote natural healing!
Stress and Depression are two common conditions that are affecting a majority of the country’s population. Given the fast-paced and zero-healthy lifestyle changes, these two conditions are impacting our mental and physical health in a vast number of ways. If a common man can reach out to a doctor seeking help to cope with such situations, imagine how can doctors handle professional stress? Well, the answer is healthcare interior designers.
My design career has introduced me to a number of high-profile medical professionals, most of them working in high-stress conditions, thanks to their busier lifestyles. One common expectation that I notice from all my clients is they would love to see their clinic as a stress-free, healing and wellness promoting space.
As part of my endeavour to create a positive space, and promote wellness in healthcare environments, I have noticed that wellness is not a term that refers to just patients. It also refers to the hospital staff and of course, the doctors themselves. Wellness is not about healing physical illness, it is about creating psychologically supportive healthcare design solutions.
Wellness in healthcare environment pertains to more control over the surroundings, consistent social support, welcoming and positive environment, and the ability to avert from negative distractions. Research studies have proven that a poor healthcare interior design can not only promote negativity but also impact clinical care outcome. Hence, interior designers aim to merge positivity, compassion, sensitivity and creativity within the design process.
3 ways to promote wellness in healthcare environments
Help handle “Stress” through “Supportive Design”
Stress can hamper treatment outcomes and can even worsen the disease condition. Stress is caused due to patients feeling helpless from reduced physical ability or unable to cope with painful medical procedures. However, lack of personal privacy, no sense of control over surrounding environment, and little or no social support among others are equally responsible for stress.
Hence, healthcare interior designers aim to create a noise-free, clutter-free and stress-free healing environments using natural air, sunlight and surroundings. Moreover, supportive design for staff areas also contributes to efficiency and productivity thereby improving care outcomes.
Transform Medical Space Design to help promote “Social Support”
A theoretically-perfect interior environment in a medical space is not directly proportional to care outcomes. In addition to a thoughtful interior design, common spaces in hospitals such as recreation rooms, reception areas and waiting rooms should also imply a sense of belongingness to patients, visitors and the staff.
Hence, healthcare interior design also involves the creation of natural healing and recreation spaces, external gardens and play areas (in paediatric clinics), music room etc to promote wellness via social support. Studies have proven that regular and positive social interactions can help fasten the healing process.
Interior Design that promotes substantial exposure to “Nature”
Patients suffering from chronic diseases, who undergo prolonged treatment cycles tend to feel pressured, and helpless given the painful medical procedures and uncertainty of treatment outcome (in some cases).
Spending long hours within four walls and electrical equipment can lead to high levels of stress and depression among patients. To avoid this, hospital design tends to include serene artwork, interior gardens, window views of nature, exposure to natural sunlight and air among others to promote wellness. This also helps save treatment time and costs for both patients and doctors.
Scientific evidence has proven that natural elements and views are the most effective stress-reducing and wellness-promoting ways during the process of treatment and recovery.