Utilizing certain interior design elements in a healthcare environment is a great way to promote a warm and inviting healing environment for both caregivers and patients. By using feature design elements, finishes, and graphics, a lot is added to the experience of the patients and care givers. These design choices can help humanize the space that can be otherwise stressful and sometimes cold.
A successful healthcare facility design requires a balance of designing for efficiency while also designing for the best experience for patients and staff. By introducing interior design early in a project, you can also enhance the relationship between the interior architecture and interior design. By coordinating with the architects and engineers on the project team at an early stage, the project will be more efficient and a more effective healthcare environment will be designed.
In our Healthcare team’s design of Van Wert Health North, currently under construction in Van Wert, Ohio, we focused on the experience of both patients and staff. The care team core in each area is positioned away from exterior walls, and therefore any easy opportunity for exterior glass. This poses the issue of limited natural light for the staff. By pulling up the overall height of the care team core area to allow for clearstory windows, we were able to provide natural light to a place where staff will spend most of their day without compromising the location. This feature – combined with vibrant and warm finishes, interesting lighting, and exciting graphics – will have a positive effect on the efficiency and energy of the staff.
Another design element of Van Wert Health North are the finishes, graphics, and architectural features used to enhance the patient experience in the waiting area and exam rooms. Vibrant finishes and community-focused branding in the waiting area create an energetic and patient-focused atmosphere. Exam rooms are separated with color blocking, creating an easy and comfortable way for patients to navigate the space. The distinguished finishes serve a dual purpose by providing wayfinding to improve the efficiency of patient visits, and making the somewhat sterile environment of exam rooms and labs more inviting and personable.
Design elements like natural light, warm wood tones, and energetic finishes allow for a more inviting and memorable experience for patients. Colors and textures can have a huge impact in a healthcare environment. Promoting these design elements and finishes can help soften the sometimes sterile and institutional-like environment.
The shift in the interior design approach in healthcare facilities is allowing what used to be a typically sterile and clinical environment to move into warm, inviting, and enjoyable spaces for providers and patients. An efficient and durable healthcare design should be equal to a healing and personable design.
Emily Larason IIDA
Associate, Interior Designer