Designing healthcare facilities that promote healing – Key considerations

The construction of healthcare facilities is a complex process that requires careful consideration of many factors. The overall goal should be to create spaces that promote comfort, and well-being for patients while also meeting the functional needs of providers. Healthcare design has shifted away from an institutional, clinical focus to a more patient-centered approach. Strategies include warm aesthetics with natural light, artwork, and views of nature, welcoming lobby and communal areas, decentralized nurse stations to improve access, and private patient rooms with space for family. Furniture, fixtures, and technology should all be designed for patient comfort, dignity, and safety.

Infection control

Limiting the spread of infection is crucial in healthcare environments. Design features to support this include efficient airflow systems, surface materials that are easy to clean, separation of clean and dirty flows, and special isolation rooms. Proper maintenance and cleaning protocols are also key. In unfamiliar surroundings, when stressed or unwell, clear wayfinding is essential for patients and visitors. It includes logical site circulation, visible key departments and access points, simplified room numbering, floor markings, intuitive signage, and easily updated digital displays. Support is also needed for those with visual, cognitive, or mobility impairments.

Adaptable, healing spaces

Flexibility to expand or change functions over time is important with fluctuating needs and emerging technologies. Healthcare spaces must be designed to have a positive physiological impact, with natural light, calming artwork, greenery, quiet zones, and landscaped grounds for walking. Access to natural views or outdoor areas encourages movement and healing. Safety for patients, families, and staff is paramount. It covers building security, patient fall prevention, safe handling of medications, clear emergency protocols, generator backup, hazard-free mental health rooms, ICU monitoring, and systems to support caregivers in moving and monitoring patients.

Efficient work areas

Workflows and nurse/doctor areas should be intelligently laid out for collaboration while protecting privacy. Efficient access to supplies and charts along with well-conceived medication and nursing stations promote effective care delivery. Staff respite zones and amenities aid performance and wellness. Seamlessly embedded technologies for electronic records, telehealth, real-time locating systems, and more help staff work efficiently while monitoring and serving patients. Medical equipment, nurse call systems and IT networks should all be designed for optimal function. Technologies should be intuitive for patients and providers.

Accessibility for all

Accommodating diverse needs improves access for all patients. Strategies include accessible parking, wide corridors, and doorways, grab bars and handrails, accessible exam tables, hearing loops, accessible bathrooms, signage for various languages and visual abilities, and assistive technologies. Conveniences like parking, dining options, lounges, gardens, spiritual spaces, Wi-Fi, charging stations, and accommodations for families improve the overall experience for visitors and staff. Artwork, music, and positive distractions ease stress. A healthcare facility should connect to the community through transit access, cultural relevance, neighborhood partnerships, community education, and preventive health services. Creating designs that welcome the community contributes to broader public health objectives. greg appelt toronto, Well-designed healthcare facilities improve satisfaction and outcomes for patients while attracting top care providers. Our team works closely with each client to design optimal spaces tailored to their unique needs and vision.