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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MCDM AG.COM | J U LY/AUGUST 2017 | Medical Construction & Design 55 waiting spaces in the form of woodland creatures that peeked from behind nurse stations and looked expectantly from the top of fi re extinguisher cabinets. A child came for treatment and, as the nurse walked the child down the corridor, she asked, "Let's see how many bunnies we can spot on our way to the exam room." The voice of the child counting and their excitement at fi nding each new friend could be heard down the corridor. That child's experience went from something similar to "walking the green mile" to an adventure, setting the tone for more benefi cial interaction with staff . Studies have shown that patients and family with reduced anxiety receive instruction better from their care team and are more likely to divulge important information about their condition. Reduction of stress through wayfi nding assistance The healthcare journey is diff erent for everyone experiencing it whether you are a patient, a family member or part of the care team. The goal of patient-cen- tered care is that the space surrounding the journey functionally supports needs. One of the number one complaints by patients and visitors regarding health- care spaces is the diffi culty of being able to fi nd what they are looking for. Art can be used as a key component of a wayfi nd- ing package supporting the subconscious mapping of a space. For example, in a recent project, images of various fl owers were used outside of each patient door at an Alzheimer's care center to not only provide a decorative element to corri- dors, but also to assist residents to fi nd their rooms when their cognitive abilities had long since erased the recognition of their own face in a picture. Charting the healing journey Patients often feel they are in a situa- tion beyond their control. Providing an environment that is engaging sup- ports the emotional, social, mental and spiritual aspects of healing and will result in reduced side eff ects. The design of Moncrief Cancer Institute in Texas provides a canvas for patients to mark their personal road to recovery with a seasonal environment by providing views and access to an outdoor healing garden with seasonal landscape and a rotating art gallery. This gallery changes works periodically in order to provide a refresh- ing space for patients throughout their course of treatment. The art pieces come from a variety of sources, including local art schools and galleries. Not only does the rotating art bring a sense of community to the space, but it gives the patients the opportunity to take control of their treatment jour- ney, in a situation where there is a lot of uncertainty. Reduced pain perception It is built into our DNA to avoid situ- ations that cause pain. The average perception of healthcare environments is that the experience will cause pain in some form. It is an important role of staff and the environment to support the patient and attempt to increase their comfort and reduce the amount of pain they experience. Postoperative pain can also be destructive by heightening the cellular stress response, which can lead to various negative side eff ects includ- ing a suppressed immune system. Pain can also induce restricted breathing and vasoconstriction, which both ultimately impair wound healing. In one study, adult patients stated they felt reduced pain when a nature scene was displayed in conjunction with nature sounds (Diette, Lechtzin, Haponik, Devrotes, & Rubin, 2003). In another study, the use of murals as a positive distraction resulted in a signifi - cant decrease in reported pain intensity, pain quality and anxiety by burn patients (Miller, Hickman, & Lemasters, 1992). Similar results came from a study where patients were asked to enter a virtual environment by playing video games or wearing a headset (Hoff man, Patterson, Carrougher, & Sharar, 2001). Art is a key ingredient in any health- care environment's ability to treat the whole patient. While a growing number of hospitals understand the importance of a relevant art program, art should be incorporated in a much broader spec- trum of building types and care models. As caregivers have provided the gift of a universal language of comfort, art can be utilized as a universal language of the built environment to create an opti- mized healing environment for patients and their families. Stacey Brimmer, IIDA, is a senior associate and lead interior designer for Corgan. 1. Each wing of this inpatient children's hospital is represented by a friendly animal image and supporting color. This is an example of a wall decal, which provides effective wayfi nding and a positive distraction for the patients. 2. The Moncrief Cancer Institute utilized local art galleries and schools to not only provide a positive distraction, but a sense of place and connection to the community. 3. The use of color for effective wayfi nding within the inpatient children's hospital. 2 3

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