Trend: 'Evidence based' hospital design increasingly popular

Ask any hospital patient what hospitals look like, and they'll probably conjure up a dull landscape of long, featureless hallways, rattling vents and a generally uninviting atmosphere. However, of late a new architectural movement has been working to change this, transforming hospitals into welcoming buildings that bring in sunlight and nature, make friends and family comfortable and put patients in charge wherever possible. This movement, known as evidence-based design, is taking root nationwide after bubbling beneath surface for a couple of decades.

The approach is called "evidence-based" because the designs respond to research on what makes patients recover more quickly--taking into account, for example, a study from the 1980s concluding that giving patients a view of an outdoor vista rather than a brick wall cut delivery times by 24 percent, as well as reducing complaints for conditions like nausea. Another influential study found that patient falls dropped 75 percent at one Indianapolis cardiac critical care unit when nursing stations were spread out and placed near patient rooms.

Studies like these, and others looking at design features like single-patient rooms, sound-dampening carpets and brighter lighting, have come together into new design standards used to create more therapeutic, comfortable and efficient environments, architects and researchers say. With the buildings themselves quieter and more tranquil, rooms designed to be more comfortable and accommodating spaces for families, and features like room lighting and blinds designed to let patients control them, the net result is a building much more conducive to clinical improvement, proponents say.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Jacksonville Business Journal article

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