VISIONS IN ARCHITECTURE
Firm's role on the project: Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors
To provide separation of the clinical and public/family access areas and study the patient’s emotional and psychological needs in order to design a solution that optimizes clinical outcomes and the patient experience.
It is widely accepted that there is merit in the “Disney Experience,” the concept that the patient experience and the needs of the staff are enhanced by recognizing a separation between the “On Stage” area of the patient room, exam room etc. and the “Off Stage” or “Back Stage” clinical and support functions. If the door connecting these two areas is left open, an atmosphere of noise is created, there is lack of privacy and the movement of people and materials is heard. The patient suffers as a result. If the door is closed, the patient feels isolated and alone and may feel bored and neglected. Again, the patient suffers.
Using the patient corridor as access for family and visitors compounds this situation. The public and patients are exposed to floor cleaning machines, clinical activities, movement of clean and soiled linens, transportation of supplies, and the movement of other patients. Both the experience of the patient and the family, friends and other supportive visitors is diminished.
Scientific study has established a strong relationship between the healing process and access to nature (Ulrich, R., 1999; Hartig, T., Mang, M., Evans, G.W., 1991; Calabrese, J.R., Kling, M.A., Gold, P.W., 1987.)
A logical conclusion reached by the acceptance of the above information led to a design solution that enhances the positive aspects and diminishes the negative aspects of the patient experience. This conclusion is that families and visitors should enter the patient rooms from a separate circulation path into the family/visitor zone of the patient room. The nursing staff and medical staff along with supplies and pharmaceuticals should enter from the opposite side of the room. If the circulation space also contains natural plants and materials, the patient experience is further enhanced resulting in positive health outcomes.
Also adding an adjacent family room serves as an ante room to buffer the entrance of a visitor from the patient. It provides a place where visitors can go while a private examination or consultation takes place and an overflow space when multiple visitors overwhelm the patient. This small room has air pressure less than the surrounding spaces to help protect the patient from outside sources of airborne contamination.