Medical Construction & Design

JUL-AUG 2017

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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54 Medical Construction & Design | J U LY/AUGUST 2017 | MCDM AG.COM Art. It is one of the most primal forms of human expression. From the fi rst drawings on cave walls, humans have used art as a means of con- nection and communication. Fast forward to the modern world where many have viewed art as an afterthought, relegated to the last moments before a facility opens (if it gets hung up at all) and lim- ited to staff cast-off s or chain store sales. Fortunately, in the last year, the growing body of proven Evidence-Based Design concepts, as it relates to the use of therapeutic art, has rescued this medium of human expression and established its role in the healing process. Through the eff orts of organizations like Planetree, the healthcare community has grown to understand that the built environment can play a signifi cant role in the treatment of patients and families by reducing stress, alleviating anxiety and supporting the medical processes taking place. For the sake of this article, art is defi ned as any visual medium, static or motion, encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and video, etc. Art integrates with and through a built environment to provide several key ele- ments including: > Reduction of anxiety through positive distractions > Reduction of stress through wayfi nding assistance > Charting the healing journey > Reduced pain perception/ request for pain medication Reduction of anxiety through positive distraction Few things are as frightening as going to the doctor. Whether it is a routine physical or pediatric cancer treatment, the level of fear and anxiety experienced by patients and their family members can have a dramatically negative impact on the ability to heal. For example, in a study by Jean-Philippe Gouin and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, experimental and clini- cal models showed that "psychological stress leads to clinically relevant delays in wound healing." Staff can also experience the negative results of daily stress and pressure. Art, in its most basic form, can provide positive distraction and reduce the fi ght-or-fl ight hormones triggered in the body by stress. Through research, it has been shown that the implementation of nature-focused art in waiting spaces reduces heart rate and blood pressure, decreases the need for anti-anxiety and agitation medications (Nanda, Eisen, Zadeh, Owen 2010) and re- duces feelings of loneliness and isolation. Both adults and children fi nd the opportunity to escape their current situ- ation through art to be one of joy. In a re- cent project for a North Texas Children's hospital, art was utilized in corridor and Universal Language 1 Integrating art in the built environment to aid healing BY STACEY BRIMMER | PHOTOS BY KURT GRIESBACH

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