Designing for a new generation in healthcare


 

A well-designed healthcare facility has a profound impact on the level of care, the feel of the space and its usability. In the past, cleanliness was the main focus of designing a healing environment to combat communicable diseases, leading to healthcare facilities traditionally possessing a clinical and cold aesthetic. While cleanliness remains extremely important, there is an increasing recognition of the role a pleasant environment plays in patient recovery.

The healthcare environment can be improved by creating facilities with high functioning and high quality design. Designing in a healthcare environment proposes a different set of challenges to any other environment as it is constantly evolving due to changes in technology, budgets, patient demographics, and industry-specific challenges. Healthcare operational policies change, on average, every five years. Yet, major healthcare facilities are typically designed for 30 years, but remain in use for more than 50 years (1).

The expectation placed on healthcare facilities by its users is rapidly evolving too. As baby boomers – a generation used to social change and categorised by their high standards – near retirement, it is unlikely they will settle for drab retirement villages.
 
Designing for this generation requires an attitude shift away from simply creating an adequate space that is safe and comfortable, and towards extending the potential for a fulfilling life after work.

How to improve healthcare environments
 
It’s important to consider the needs of the patients when designing healthcare spaces. Consideration needs to be given to the patterns, colour and construction of the flooring materials that is chosen, as well as incorporating the following factors: 

  • Correct use of LRVs

  • Appropriate slip resistance level

  • Underfoot comfort

  • Forgiving with falls

  • Correct trims and accessories that deter fixation and picking

  • Sound Reduction

  • Biophilic Design



Selecting the right product for floor and wall surfaces can be broken down into simple steps.
 

  1. Identify specific needs- The qualities a facility will require from its product will dependon its use.

 

  1. Detect potential contaminants- People in the environment are often already vulnerable to the spread of infection, so Cleaning must be as simple as possible

 

  1. Conduct risk assessment- Safety is paramount in a healthcare environment. Some areas to focus on are slip resistance, traction, texture, colour and LRVs.

 

  1. Select a suitable product- Choosing products, which are fit for purpose will have a long lasting impact on the design

 

  1. Install products with professional help- Professional installation of any product will improve the look, feel and function of the end product and also ensure the ongoing integrity of the project.

 

  1. Enable proper maintenance- Even the highest quality flooring or wall cladding products will require proper maintenance to ensure they continue to look good for as long as possible.

 
For more information on modern designing for healthcare, read our Whitepapers below.
 
Enhancing patient and staff wellbeing using design
Future Proofing Healthcare
 

1. Australasian Health Infrastructure Alliance. (2015). Part C – Design for Access, Mobility, OHS and Security. Australasian Health Facility Guidelines.
https://aushfg-prod-com-au.s3.amazonaws.com/Part%20C%20Whole_5_0.pdf
Posted: 20/08/2020 1:15:15 a.m. by Catherine Andreopoulos | with 0 comments