Tseung, V., Verweel, L., Harvey, M., Pauley, T., Walker, J. (2022). Hospital outdoor spaces: User experience and implications for design
While outdoor views and spaces can positively impact patient and hospital staff outcomes, research is needed to understand how outdoor design might contribute to patient therapy in post-acute and rehabilitation care. Researchers used a pre-occupancy evaluation to interview patients, family, and staff involved with rehabilitation activities in the outdoor areas of an existing hospital to inform the design of a new facility. Researchers identified three overarching themes: outdoor spaces and views help patients focus on life beyond their illness, specific design elements should be considered when planning outdoor views and spaces, and deliberate design of outdoor spaces can promote rehabilitation. Design elements identified in this single-site study include: year-round visual access to the outdoors, a variety of plants, water, and wildlife; challenging grades that support therapy but do not create barriers for patients with mobility issues; safety stations and clear signage for trails or paths; and separate spaces for patients/families and staff.