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Exploring the Concept of Healing Spaces

August 2018
EBD Journal Club

Summary

Evidence-based design (EBD) research has demonstrated the power of environmental design to support improved patient, family, and staff outcomes and to minimize or avoid harm in healthcare settings. While healthcare has primarily focused on fixing the body, there is a growing recognition that our healthcare system could do more by promoting overall wellness, and this requires expanding the focus to healing. This article explores how we can extend what we know from EBD about health impacts of spatial design to the more elusive goal of healing. By breaking the concept of healing into antecedent components (emotional, psychological, social, behavioral, and functional), this review of the literature presents the existing evidence to identify howhealthcare spaces can foster healing. The environmental variables found to directly affect or facilitate one or more dimension of healing were organized into six groups of variables—homelike environment, access to views and nature, light, noise control, barrier-free environment, and room layout. While there is limited scientific research confirming design solutions for creating healing spaces, the literature search revealed relationships that provide a basis for a draft definition.Healing spaces evoke a sense of cohesion of the mind, body, and spirit. They support healing intention and foster healing relationships.


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