Friday, September 28, 2012

Healing Healthcare Environment

Recently, I went to a store called Flor where carpet squares, often thought of only used in corporate environments, are used in a new modern way to create personally designed rugs and carpets.  I had a great time putting together colors and patterns to transform a room in a fairly cheap and simple manner.  

This is the style I chose for our office.  Pretty sweet!

This revival of my interior designing phase got me thinking about the interior of hospitals, doctor's offices, and other healthcare spaces.  Usually not places you want to go to, stay in, and often there is a very specific smell to connect with our horrible hospital memories too.  But what if the environment a person was in was involved completely in the healing process?  Stress is the opposite thing needed to help someone who is ill.

We all know how much better a space can look by simply having windows.  For example, my kitchen right now has absolutely no natural light and thus looks like an insane asylum.  Do I like to spend time there?  No.  My bedroom, however, has a floor to ceiling window with a beautiful view.  Shocking as it may seem, I feel better in my bedroom than the kitchen.

Healthcare consumers are paying a lot for a service to be healthy; sticking them in a dark, smelly space is a disservice.  I know that hospitals aren't going to put interior design as a first priority, and they shouldn't.  But at some point, tiles have to get replaced, artwork is placed on walls, window treatments are chosen.  At these points in time, I think it is extremely important to make a thoughtful decision.  With options like Flor carpet tiles, there are color and design options that are affordable but also stylish.  With aging baby-boomers, there will be more people than ever before occupying all facets of healthcare.  Especially with an aging population, these people deserve and will expect a healthful experience.  Of course, a hospital won't turn into a spa (though that's an idea to look into) but it could be a place grandkids don't dread going to to see their grandparents in the event of an illness.

I know I would be interested in having my artwork be able to comfort someone in a dark time.  To be able to give a person with an illness the promise of a bright future by simply allowing them to see natural light and softly painted walls instead of harsh white seems like a no-brainer.  For more information on healing environments, follow these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healing_environments
http://takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/healing-environment


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