Recharge your staff with biophilic healthcare design
Healthcare staff have never been in more need of rest and recharging. Biophilic design can help! Healthcare design company Evoke Projects looks at how biophilic design can recharge your staff and your business.
What is biophilia?
The term biophilia was popularised by Edward O. Wilson in the 1980s; it means “love of living things”.
Nature is soothing and nurturing, which is at the very heart of healthcare. Biophilic healthcare design capitalises on the benefits to health and well-being when nature is introduced into a practice.
It’s no surprise that Google and Facebook were among the early adopters of biophilic workplace design. Lina Zeldovich writes in Popular Science about the research that showed “humans perform better when surrounded by sunlight, greenery, and other components of the outdoors”, which led to tech companies embracing biophilic design to attract and retain the best people. The same article highlights how hospitals have embraced biophilic design with ‘recharge rooms’ for staff.1 More on that later!
Healthcare interior design benefits staff, patients and the business
The pleasing nature of biophilic healthcare design is a winner all round. Staff will feel cared for, patients will feel welcomed, and your business will thrive.
One study showed that biophilic elements in medical and healthcare practice design resulted in post-operative rates of recovery reducing by 8.5%, while pain medication was reduced by 22%.2
Healthcare biophilic design ideas
Consider these ideas for your next healthcare fit-out or refurbishment.
- Materials that love life
Natural materials and textures complement healthcare interior design and are effortlessly biophilic. Using sustainable materials in your healthcare fit-out will make your staff proud to work for a practice that proactively cares for the environment. Bamboo and copper are good for both hygiene and the environment. If natural flooring is outside the budget, consider wood-effect flooring and faux stone tiles. While on the subject of the environment, solar panels will reduce electricity costs in the longer term.
- Courtyard waiting room
If your practice has an outdoor area, consider transforming it to the waiting area. Imagine the patient benefits of waiting in a tranquil outdoor setting where people can walk around, listen to a running water feature and breathe fresh air.
- Paediatric plant growing
If children regularly come to your practice, set up a plant growing area. Even window ledges could be used if there is no outdoor space. Children can plant their own easy-growing herbs or flowers which they will look forward to seeing and caring for at each visit. They can water other children’s plants on their visits too.
- Natural daylight and smart lighting
Natural daylight and smart lighting are wonderful biophilic elements for your next healthcare or medical fit-out. Smart lighting that senses movement and can be set according to the patient need is the next best thing to natural light. Examinations may need a bright light, but a mental health assessment most definitely does not.
- A breath of fresh air
Improve air quality with an air filtration system, opening windows and natural plants. One plant for every ten metres is a good guide. Natural plants do more than absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They evoke an emotional response because we associate them with being outside and enjoying leisure time. They are also visually appealing, which will be welcome in a healthcare setting.
- The colours of nature
Artwork that features nature and nature-resembling colours such as green, blue and brown are easy changes you can make with a minor healthcare practice refurbishment.
- Create a recharge room for medical staff
We’re not talking about recharging smartphones here. In fact, phones should be left at the door. Lina Zeldovich writes about New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital recharge room where medical staff can escape “into high-backed chairs beneath a canopy of silk trees, breathe in calming scents of lavender and chamomile, and, in the dimmed light, lose themselves. Floor-to-ceiling nature videos whisked them away to mountain lakes, lush forests, or oceanfront beaches”.3 Now that’s a recharge room!
While this may be the Rolls Royce of recharge rooms, the general principle of providing a tranquil natural setting for staff to relax and recharge their batteries is within the scope of every new healthcare fit-out!
Talk to the healthcare designers at Evoke Projects to find out more about recharge rooms and biophilic healthcare design. Please call 1300 720 692 for more information.