Week 6: Waiting Room – The Space

Visual Elements:


“Stress can result in more pain and slower wound healing, but it also impacts the immune system (Rabin, 1999). These are convincing reasons to design healthcare environments that reduce stress and address patients’ needs for relaxation and comfort (Malkin, 2008).” (pg 11)

Patients will rely on all clues that are available to them to form an impression of this competence or lack thereof. Both interactions with the physician and other staff members as well as clues from the built environment will be assessed in such cases to assist this impression formation.” (pg 13)

“When ill, people tend to be uncertain, anxious, concerned, and in pain. Under such circumstances, people will be imbalanced more easily by distressing environmental stimuli. This suggests that they could also benefit more from calming, relaxing, and positive environments. The impact of the physical environment could, thus, be of greater importance in healthcare settings than in other settings.” (pg 13)

“Rabin (2004 in Malkin 2008; personal communication 2008) proposed that pleasant healthcare environments are those that are perceived by the brain as calming, meaning that the stress reactive areas of the brain decrease their activity with a resultant decrease in the concentration of cortisol and norepinephrine in the blood. This results in patients experiencing less pain, having more restful sleep, less anger, less muscle tension, and a lower risk of stroke. Furthermore, Kaplan and Kaplan (1989, p.189) states that “the nervous system seems to be structured in such a way that pleasure and pain tend to inhibit each other”. A more pleasant healthcare environment could, therefore, result in less stress and anxiety in patients and this should lead to better health and increased feelings of well-being.” (pg 15)

The physical healthcare environment is comprised of ambient, architectural, and interior design features (Harris et al., 2002).
Ambient features:

  • lighting
  • noise levels
  • odors
  • temperature

The architectural features are the relatively permanent aspects of the physical healthcare environment:

  • spatial layout of the hospital
  • size and shape of rooms
  • placement of windows

Interior design features can be defined as the less permanent aspects of the healthcare environment:

  • Furnishings
  • Colours
  • interior plants
  • Artwork
  • Music



Wait Time

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