IMPACT OF INTERIORS OF MEDICAL INSTITUTES ON PATIENTS
Florence Nightingale observed that ‘a variety of form and brilliance of colour in the objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery.’
(Photo Courtesy: Hektoen International-A Journal of Medical
Coming from a quintessential care giver, it is then a tried and tested means towards a path to recovery for patients in medical facilities. That the soundness of mind and body equals health and wellness is a widely accepted concept. According to the World Health Organisation the definition of Health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing …” Therefore, so much of our wellbeing is governed by one’s state of mind and overall moods. It is generally thought to be believed that colours have a direct impact on the mind while evoking certain moods and feelings in individuals.
Colours are omnipresent in our universe as Nature, influencing the way we feel and react, or interact with our environment. This reality has inspired interior designers to choose well thought out colour palettes for use in healthcare institutions hopefully resulting in patient and staff wellbeing and efficiency, respectively.
According to an article in Simourdesign.com entitled Psychological Effects of Colour in Healthcare Spaces by Mitra Silva, the impact of colours on a patient’s mind and the level of care required are intertwined. The designing and planning of colour schemes focus on the patient when he or she enters the healthcare institute for the first time. Forbes says that lighter shades of paint or pastel shades is known to make people feel accepted or welcome. Medium shades are meant to foster a feeling of trust as they are warmer.
Choosing colours in patients’ rooms is also determined by length of stay according to studies, as also the purpose of a room or an area are meant to serve in a health care facility. For example:
Waiting rooms could do with colours that lift moods and have some interesting colour and design schemes that are attention grabbing, while patients and their families wait.
Photo courtesy: altrofloors.com (colour scheme in a Reception cum waiting area)
On the other hand, Corridors and reception areas may be separated using strong accent colours which serve to aid navigation and direction. Colour schemes can colour code different departments for patients and their families to identify.
Intensive care units, again need to restore a sense of calm and restfulness, and so the walls and ceiling can bear soft neutral or pastel hues.
Consultation rooms by and large could do with warm neutral colours, with a background accent colour.
Operating theatres are painted with lighter hues of green or blue/green in colour. The colours help to cancel out the ‘after image’ produced by a surgeon’s concentration during an operation or procedure.
Photo Courtesy: bdcnetwork.com (colour scheme in an operating theatre)
One can try out this experiment -after a long stare at a computer or a PC screen, turn your focus on a green expanse, you will experience a certain relaxation of the eyes. Altrofloors.com recommends in their blog that Patients’ Rooms, a healthcare facilities’ most important rooms, need to have calming and relaxing colours in general. However, colours blue and green too, are known to aid patient recovery and healing.
(Source: hmdhealthcaredesign.com – Patient Room)
To this end, the concept of Biophilic design, is finding favour amongst architects, designers, and end -users alike, which includes the presence of nature as part of the overall environment in a patient’s room, or overlooking one. Nature or plants is again greenery, a natural hue of Green, that helps in the health recovery process.
American Biologist, Edward O. Wilson introduced the concept of Biophilia in 1984, which attempts to study the positive relationship nature has on healing. To illustrate the point is data derived by Catie Ryan, Senior Project Manager at a sustainability consulting firm, Terrapin Bright Green. According to his study, “On average, patients whose windows overlooked a scene of nature were released after 7.96 days, compared with the 8.71 days it took for patients whose views were of the hospital’s exterior walls to recover sufficiently to be released — a decrease of 8.5%.” Even a minute implementation sets off a healing process.
Biophilic designs in patient rooms has a positive impact on patient perception and satisfaction with ongoing health care.
Photo Courtesy: altrofloors.com (Natural light, pastel shades and cheerful design elements in a patient room is a Biophilic design element)
In an article in The Weekly Design and Construction Magazine, entitled 5 design considerations when selecting colour for healthcare facilities, the recommendation is to keep it colourful for both patients and healthcare professionals. The idea is to use space to optimise the feeling of relaxation, comfort and a sense of calm.
In hospitalinfrabiz.com, Brandon R.Guzman, a healthcare design specialist (US), through his article A tipping point for the future of healthcare design, explains that Evidence Based Design(EBD) is gaining ground while planning healthcare spaces. Data driven, EBD focusses on patient outcomes and patient satisfaction scores, when impacted by the environment existing in their healthcare facilities.
In conclusion, students and professionals while setting up their healthcare design consultancies would do well to input ideas from Researches,Planners,Architects, or even include clinical staff as consultants.
Colours have healing powers, and when patients are exposed to specific hues depending on the type of ailment and outcomes, these then trigger responses that lead to recovery during medical care. Thus, Chromatherapy is an alternate medicine using colours in the process of healing.
Colours contribute to patient health: According to colour consultants Colour Connections,(http//: colorconnections.com), different colours come with a set of psychological properties that aid in healing. The psychological properties of five major colours are illustrated below:
USE IN ALTERNATE
Triggers blood circulation and raises blood temperature
Anaemia/fatigue/paralysis and exhaustion
Colours of the sky and sea, has a calming and soothing effect; lowers the heart rate
Used to treat insomnia, reduction of stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraine, skin irritation and treatment related to the immune system
Decongestant and antibacterial properties
Aids digestion and stimulates liver and intestine systems; known to relieve rheumatism and arthritis
Harmonising properties create balance in the body
Good for those with heart and blood related ailments; known to influence human cell structure and muscles
Brings about vitality to the body
Associated with kidneys, urinary tract and reproductive system
Calms nervous system; known to relieve head congestion
Associated with eyes, ears, nose and mouth;
Soft colour and hue
Calming and nurturing properties
Scientific progress and the COVID-19 pandemic
Resources: Altrofloors.com; bdcnetwork.com; colorconnections.com; hmdhealthcaredesign.com;
Hektoen International; hospitalinfrabiz.com; simourdesign.com
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