Creating Healing Environments
Hospitals need new packaging, brand new dress that bespeaks health and happiness rather than sickness and suffering, hope instead of despair....What is being done to create for the patient surroundings that make him want to live, that restore to him the old fight to regain his health?
Dorothy Draper, In the Pink
The nature of design for therapeutic environments such as residential treatment centers, group homes, psychiatric hospitals and other similar facilities health care facilities have historically focused much more on function than form.
In recent history, health care design has taken a direction focused on healing rather than just caring for the sick. What constitutes a healing environment can be complex. Some argue that color can inspire health and healing - reds are known to stimulate adrenalin and cause feelings of excitement; blues and greens tend to create a calming effect; purple is known as a calming color that can also stimulate creativity; yellow is mentally stimulating, activates memory, and encourages communication. Others focus design that is based on connecting patients with nature. Still others focus on creating a home-like environment that is comfortable and soothing.
The most typical approach to design or redesign of an existing facility is to update furniture and accessories. Often, therapeutic rooms are painted in neutral hues allowing the furnishings to be a focal point. When selecting furniture for healing environments it is important to combine form and function. Sleek, contemporary lines in seating pieces combined with monochrome upholstery have become a great way to update a space. Pops of color using accessories like wall art, throw pillows or rugs can give a space a fun, energizing feel that can promote health and well-being in patients and clients.
Even when budget dollars are limited, it is important to work with experts who can help maximize the healing nature of your facility. If an interior designer is not in the budget, most contract furniture providers are happy to offer space planning and design consultations as part of their standard services. Take advantage of these experts who have likely completed 100’s of projects focused on health and healing.