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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

top 10 physical factors which help people get better quicker

According to this document there is evidence that the following physical factors of the indoor environment can positively affect the health and wellbeing of people in healthcare facilities:

1) safety - so guarding against infections that can be acquired during a hospital stay and medical errors causes by noise, insufficient lighting or moving patients around between rooms; 

2) heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems - that maintain negative pressure within isolation rooms and use high efficiency particulate air filters  - all of this using natural ventilation where possible (suitable for warm and temperate but not humid climates); 

3) thermal and acoustic environment - that avoids too warm or cold whilst acknowledging that people do vary quite widely on what they find comfortable AND which uses noise-reducing finishes, single-bed patient rooms and short corridors; 

4) interior layout and room type - single patient rooms (benefits outweigh disadvantages), decentralised nursing stations and supplies (but create mechanisms for not being isolated), the opportunity for "corridor conversations", no dead end corridors, ease of observation of patients and areas for staff to communicate and relax;

5) windows - allowing daylight and views of nature and the outside world

6) nature and gardens - to providing restful views and places to escape to  - even if only for a couple of minutes 

7) lighting, colour and floor covering - lighting  - which is sufficient and controllable lighting (natural where possible).  However - in counselling rooms people feel more comfortable talking and talk longer with dim rather than bright lighting. On colour  - warmer colours tend to activate, stimulate and energise, while cooler colours are more calming and relaxing  (although responses to colour may vary depending on cultural issues and personal preferences). On floor covering  - using carpet where practicable but avoiding where spills are likely to occur or when patients are at greater risk of airborne infections. 

8) furniture and its placement - which helps control surface contamination and use of indoor plants (not where immunosuppressed patients are located) 

9) ergonomics and wayfinding -  especially signage to assist people in successfully navigating a site and reaching their intended destination 

10) artwork and music - pleasant, preferred art (realistic art depicting serene natural environments).  Abstract art and particularly emotionally challenging or provocative works, are consistently disliked by patients.  Music has been used for therapeutic purposes since the beginning of cultural history and where controllable is a great aid

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