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The Center for Health Design - CURRENTS Newsletter
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The Center for Health Design - Currents Newsletter

June 23, 2016

The Scoop

Are Antibacterial Building Materials Making You Unhealthy?

As green design turns its eye to health, architects are looking not only at chemical properties in materials but also at the microbes around us to promote environmental health and sustainability and human health.

Rare and minor metals, or chemicals made from metals such as cadmium, titanium and molybdenum, are in everything in our buildings from sheeting, to LEDs, to solar panels, to appliances, equipment and paints. We use them, for example, to enhance steel and prevent corrosion.  GreenBiz, more...

How a Rooftop Garden, Local Farming Helped One Hospital Boost Patient Satisfaction

Some hospitals’ answers to improving their patient satisfaction scores might already be in their own backyards.

Or, in the case of Connecticut’s New Milford Hospital: in their rooftop gardens.

With a focus on seasonal, unprocessed food and a classically trained chef at the kitchen’s helm, New Milford’s menu resembles that of a chic, farm-to-table restaurant rather than a typical hospital cafeteria: The vegetable dish will depend on what was picked from its rooftop garden that day, or what it received from the nine local farms from which it regularly sources ingredients. The finished product is a healthful menu (a typical dessert is a chickpea chocolate cake, for instance) that New Milford's patients, staff and community have come to love. Hospitals & Health Networksmore... 

CBRE Finds that Investors Are Still Flocking to Healthcare Sector

In the first quarter of 2016, there were 163 transactions of medical office buildings totaling more than $1.8 billion in volume, according to estimates by CBRE, the nation’s largest real estate services provider, in its latest “National Healthcare Real Estate Investor Update.”

By far the largest transaction occurred last January, when a joint venture between Chicago-based Heitman Capital and Denver-based NexCare Group paid $199 million to acquire the 227,628-sf First Hill Medical Pavilion in Seattle.

CBRE observes that the healthcare section continues to be “one of the strongest job generators in the American economy.” Quoting Bureau of Labor Statistics data, CBRE notes that between April 2015 and April 2016, healthcare produced 482,000 jobs, or roughly 18% of the 2.7 million nonfarm jobs formed in the U.S. during that period. 

What Can Healthcare Design Learn from Airlines?

Traveling from BWI to LAX on United, a delightful flight attendant was concerned because he had “stashed” extra water and blankets on the plane for back-up, and another team had used “his” plane and the extra stores were gone!  He said that he is always concerned that he doesn’t have everything or enough supplies that he needs to make his guests comfortable.

This sounded like outcomes from recent focus groups with hands-on care givers in long term care settings. Their comments included, “We have to ‘stash’ extra supplies in resident rooms to make sure that we have what we need to make residents and patients more comfortable.” On the surface these may appear to be operational issues, but in many ways, these are also environmental design issues.  Storage spaces are rarely considered during the programming and design phase, yet contribute substantially to the quality of life and potential independence of a resident.  For example, if storage was located at point of service and supplied according to operational needs, supplies, materials, snacks, and more could all be located and accessible for staff, family, residents and patients when neededinteriors+sources, more...

How Subtle, Clever Architectural Decisions Can Help People Living with Dementia.

Sit down, close your eyes, and try to remember how you got to where you are.

How easy is it for you to visualize the path you took today? How did you remember where to go? Maybe you know to always turn at an important landmark — the tree your mom planted, for example. Maybe there was a sign telling you the right direction.

For people living with dementia, these navigational clues can be hard to read.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, about 5 million Americans live with some form of dementia. Dementia isn't a single disease — rather, it's a broad category of cognitive and neurological symptoms. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, but there are many others, including strokes or Parkinson's disease.

Dementia can interfere with many of the brain's mental processes, including spatial memory — the part of the brain that deals with navigation. This is why many people living with dementia may sometimes find it hard to get around, even in familiar places.

Clever design decisions — like the use of color — help reinforce and strengthen the residents' spatial memory. Upworthy, more...



The Center’s work is made possible with the funding support of our Thought Leaders:



ICONS and Innovator Webinar Series

These high-quality, affordable, thought-provoking and convenient learning events provide opportunities to inform your work strategies, obtain continuing education units (CEUs), and engage with industry icons and innovators who are championing change. Click on any of the upcoming webinar links below to get more information about the speakers and learning objectives and to register.

June 30
High-Consequence Infectious Disease: 10 Design Ideas to Improve Safety in Patient Care

Sept 1
Undercover Masterplan: Design as a Catalyst to Unite Two Hospital Systems

Sept 8
Creating Safer Spaces in Healthcare: Impacts, Performance, and Outcomes of Rubber Flooring in Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act 


All past ICONS and Innovators webinars are available on demand for viewing at your convenience.  These webinars can be offered to your team as a professional development program from the convenience of their home or office and are an ideal way to receive continuing education credits.
More information here.





Patient Room Design Checklist and Evaluation Tool

Developed through extensive review of research, surveys, site tests, and review and validation by expert advisory council members, this standard set of evidence-based design checklists and post-occupancy evaluation (POE) tools can be used by interior designers to apply research to healthcare design projects and to conduct post-occupancy evaluations of three types of hospital patient rooms: adult medical-surgical, adult intensive care, and maternity care. 

Enjoy this free resource here.


We invite you

to submit a proposal for the 2017 EFA Expo & Conference Call for Presentations

The Environments for Aging Expo & Conference is an annual event that brings together developers, owners, design professionals, product manufacturers, academia, aging specialists, and government officials to explore new ideas for creating places that support people as they age. Developed by professionals who are day-to-day advocates and champions for improving healthcare and life experiences for the aging population, this comprehensive conference provides attendees with access to state-of-the-art information from thought leaders and innovators within the field of aging.

To submit a presentation proposal, click here. 

Deadline for submissions is TOMORROW:
June 24, 2016,
5 p.m. PDT

 More information here.


Classic Resources

Free resources and tools to advance best practices and demonstrate the value of design to improve health outcomes, patient experience of care, and provider/staff satisfaction and performance. 

Design Insights & Strategies Tool

The patient room, the most repetitive space in acute care facilities, offers many opportunities to incorporate evidence-based design features. This set of interactive diagrams provides access to the healthcare design evidence base in an accessible and actionable format.  


How One Swedish Hospital Shut the Door on Infections

Antibiotic-resistant infections have become a major public health issue in the United States. In other countries, however, the problem doesn’t appear as severe or as widespread. It’s worth taking a look at what they’re doing differently to see what we can learn from their efforts.

The Center for Health Design is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education and advocacy. Looking for ways to support our work? Contact us.

Join our Community of Affiliates  •  Become a Pebble Partner  •  Donate
Ask Us About Volunteer Opportunities  •  Contact Us

© 2016 The Center for Health Design

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