What’s Next: Health Care
Health-care design, once the province of sterile, faintly inhumane patient wards, is finally developing a bedside manner. Thanks to a field known as evidence-based design, we now know that how a hospital looks and feels plays a big role in how well it treats patients. That research, which details the environmental particulars of recovery down to the best floor pattern for Alzheimer’s patients, is gradually being put into practice. Dr. Esther Sternberg, author of Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, says tomorrow’s health-care design will no longer be a fussy remnant of germ theory but a sophisticated, multisensory affair.
“Urban Zen, Donna Karan’s foundation, has a goal to redesign not only hospitals but health-care delivery, based on the principles of a yoga community. Part of it incorporates actual physical hospital redesign. It’s one of several organizations with a mission of creating hospitals that are healing instead of stressful. Some of the elements of that: noise reduction, beautiful views, and light.” —E.S.
“Smells in hospitals are unpleasant. You walk into a hotel or a shopping mall and your mood changes because they pipe in smells that remind you of Christmas, childhood, or Mom’s apple pie. The Monell Chemical Senses Center is doing a lot of research on this. If scent can be used in marketing, why not use it in hospitals to mask the unpleasant smells?” —E.S.
“How do you replace the function of missing memory for Alzheimer’s patients? You can use technology that helps people navigate through and orient themselves in a place: a GPS system with memory in a walker. That’s a nursebot. It allows individuals to have some degree of independence for a little bit longer than they ordinarily might.” —E.S.
What’s Next: The 1-5-10 Issue