Structures of Health and Healing: The Architecture of Medical Facilities

Structures of Health and Healing: The Architecture of Medical Facilities

Hospitals and healthcare facilities sometimes conjure frightening images: dark hallways, agonising pains and cold, stern-looking figures in white hospital coats. Modern hospital design and architecture can transform hospitals from dark and dreary places to ones that are ideal for reinvigoration and healing. Here are some architectural ideas that make it possible.

Utilising the Outdoors

Outdoor areas play a significant role in the recovery of patients. The feel of fresh air and a glimpse beyond the hospital walls provide a sense of normalcy, so hospitals should utilise the outdoors for this purpose. Installing sheltered walkways from Kensington Systems Ltd  or elsewhere is a good first step in doing this. Refining pathways and gardens also allow nurses to easily wheel patients around the premises, allowing them to enjoy colourful surroundings comfortably.

Protecting from the Elements

Walkway canopies are becoming a must for healthcare facilities in the UK, with some patients even campaigning for their installation. Donald Hughes, an 87-year old who goes to the Royal Stoke University Hospital to accompany his wife Doris to the Kidney Unit, is looking to raise funds for covered walkways. Having to wheel his wife 100 yards from the hospital to the kidney unit, he points out that patients need the walkways to be protected from the elements. Recovering patients are especially susceptible to the effects of the changing weather, and shelters can reduce these effects.

Empathising with Patients and their Loved Ones

As early as the 1960s, the Journal of Royal Medical Society or Res Medica had already stressed the importance of aesthetics in Britain’s hospital architecture. The document points out that doctors alone cannot provide the complete care patients need to recover fully, and that the facility itself should also encourage healing.

Considering the patients’ preferences for wall colours and beddings, and their loved ones’ need for places within the hospital to get them presents, and to have quick, comfortable, breaks, themselves, are important factors in any modern hospital. These are features that show hospitals are empathising with the patients and demonstrate its understanding of their needs.

Patients need a healthcare environment that promotes healing and better living. Hospitals that address their basic needs and desire for a sense of normalcy will better help patients restore their wellbeing.