How the physical environment of a hospital affects clinical outcomes and patient health?


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  • A well-designed hospital can have positive clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction that outlines a better quality of care. Different factors are related to enhancing design such as noise absorption, single bedroom design, nature views, well-chosen colors & arts, and daylight access, along with better wayfinding design. These factors can reduce stress and pain, and enhance better quality of sleep and better recovery, which in turn reduce length of stay and increase patient satisfaction.

    Artwork with nature images has positive psychological impact on patients compared with abstract ones. Window views enhance less stress, less pain, better recovery, and shorter postoperative stay, along with having less relief drug intake. Viewing nature was also correlated with more positive clinical outcomes such as low blood pressure and low pulse rates and reduction of anxiety and pain. Moreover, access to daylight has proved its effectiveness for getting better clinical outcomes. Bright sunlight has a positive impact as antidepressant effect on winter depression. Sunny rooms lead to shorter stay compared with a dim room. High illuminance in the morning has a better impact on patients compared with afternoon light; morning light is two times better and effective.

    Noise Absorption:

    Acoustic comfort is strongly correlated with improving patient’s condition, less noise can be correlated with less medical errors in terms of the process and patient safety. Moreover, noise can affect patient recovery as it increases the levels of stress and leads to negative clinical outcomes and then less chance for recovery. Higher noise can increase need for oxygen support therapy by decreasing oxygen saturation and elevate blood pressure, besides increasing heart and breath rates. Noise also affects quality and quantity of sleep. Most sources of noise are; therapeutic procedures, staff talking, staff erratic interruptions, and environmental noise which usually happen in multi-bedroom units.

    Nature Views:

    Hospital gardens have great positive impacts on patients, staff, and visitors as well. Gardens can mitigate pains and reduce stress along with increased satisfaction of patients, staff, and visitors. It can contribute positively to treating some disorders such as dementia. Hospital gardens and viewing nature can also enhance social support, better communication and reduction of staff stress.

    Well-chosen Colors :

    As for the effect of colors and balanced colors play a major role in promoting well -being of staff and patients, and affecting the recovery rates and staff morale. Selection of colors should go beyond an atheistic attractive design, it should be more patient-focused for better comfort and supportive factor of the healing process. Using green has proven its effectiveness in stress relief compared with other colors like orange. Orange stimulates appetite and it is a good option to treat people with anorexia. However, it should be avoided in patient’s room with intensive psychological conditions as it stimulates mental activity. Intensive care units should follow calming and restful colors while using green and blue is recommended in the operation rooms to counteract the effect on the eye. Whereas, contrast colors are preferable in the dementia patients’ room.

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    Fadda, J, 2017. Quality of Healthcare: A Review of the Impact of the Hospital Physical Environment on Improving Quality of Care: Selected Papers from the World Renewable Energy Network’s Med Green Forum 2017 Sustainable Building for a Cleaner Environment, pp.217-253 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-94595-8_20.

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