KORTNEY JO EDGE presented a thesis in Florida on the effect of color and environment on a patients recovery. In it she states:
if one sees the hospital from a quadriplegic’s point of view, then the effects of the environmental factors can be fully appreciated. A quadriplegic’s view is limited to that in a fixed, horizontal position in bed day in and out. Therefore, his or her behavioral, physical, and psycho-emotional repertoire of coping mechanisms is much more restrictive than that of an average, healthy individual (Verderber, 1983). With this example, it is easy to comprehend how the natural light entering the room, the color of the walls, the art that hangs on the walls, and anything else that is within immediate view of the patient can effect not only a quadriplegic patient but others as well.
Color can be implemented into the healing process in various forms, applying it to the physical environment. The important concept to understand is the effect that color can have on a patient’s psychological state while in a hospital environment. It has been shown that, a patient’s psychological state plays a large role in the recovery process, particularly with coronary heart patients. By examining the impact of color in relation to recovery, researchers can provide evidence to support designers as they strive to create healing environments, which foster the recovery process.
Verderber (1983) and Ulrich (1984) both conducted research on the effects of a window on a hospital patient’s well-being. Verderber (1983) found that a patient’s proximity to a window and the view context out the window had an effect on the patient’s well-being. Ulrich’s (1984) study showed that the patient’s recovery was effected by whether he or she had a view of a natural scene or a view of a brick wall.
I would love to design the walls and view of a hospital. I would try to do little things like have tv screens with scenes of nature, animals, children smiling, etc so that patients aren’t laying in bed staring at bare walls all day. I would have nature scenes painted on the walls by local art students to lift the spirits of patients. My daughters bedroom when she was younger had the sky and stars and a tree and rainbow and pot of gold.It took me two weeks but was well worth the effort to brighten her room, mood and life. Not only would painted murals look more beautiful it may also help confused patients mark or locate their room easier by associating it with the picture of the tree, lake or flowers.
I’d have pictures on the ceiling for patients lying in bed 24 hours a day.
I would look at what hotels do differently than hospitals for their sheets and bedding and how a hospital could improve the bedding so it is not so rough against patients skin. That would cut down on discomfort patients feel and on skin tears, bed sores and other complications.
I can not believe there has not been a designer or somebody who has been able to improve on the hospital gown so that patients can feel they have some dignity while in the hospital.
The curtains between beds would be nature pictures or colours or comforting words…something other than the dull “institution” curtains most hospitals have.
And if I could I would come to work every once in a while dressed like a clown or wearing a silly hat and mask while tap dancing (Ok I’ve been known to do that anyway) just to find a way to brighten the day of anyone who may need their spirits lifted.
I’m sure much of the decisions for designs come from budget concerns but you can never put a price on having happier, healthier patients, families and staff.