How do you design a better hospital?Start with light

Just like medical Nursing has evolved from bloodletting to bacterial theory, and the medical space where patients live has also changed. Today, architects and designers are working hard to find ways to make hospitals more comfortable, hoping that relaxing spaces can lead to better rehabilitation. However, the process established for healing requires empathy as much as the synthesis of cold hard data.

Ann Marie Adams, a professor of architectural history at McGill University Research Hospital, said: “One of the best care may be to keep people calm and give them space to be alone-these things seem trivial, but they are actually important.”

In the 19th century, the famous nurse Florence Nightingale (Florence Nightingale) promoted the pavilion plan featuring wards: large rooms with long rows of beds, large windows, plenty of natural light and ample cross ventilation. These designs are based on the theory that damp indoor spaces can spread diseases. However, the ward provides almost no privacy for patients and requires enough space, which is becoming difficult to find in increasingly dense cities. For nurses, this also means a lot of walking, and they have to walk up and down the aisle with difficulty.

Over the next century, attention to natural light faded, and aseptic space was prioritized to limit the spread of bacteria and accommodate more and more medical equipment. After the First World War, the new norm was to concentrate the wards around the nurse’s station. These designs are easier for nurses, they no longer need to travel long distances, and their heating and construction costs are lower. But they retain some of the characteristics of old-fashioned residential treatment facilities, such as nursing homes where patients can recover for a long time; Adams wrote in an article on hospital architecture published in 2016 that both imitate high-end hotels with gorgeous lobbies and gourmet food These measures are aimed at persuading the middle class to “when they are seriously ill, they live better in the hospital than at home.” Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. She believes that this design is to make people believe in this institution: “a tool for persuasion, not a tool for healing.”

In the late 1940s and 1950s, the hospital was transformed again, this time into an office-like building, with no extra decorations or many functions designed to improve the experience there. Jessie Reich, Director of the Patient Experience and Magnet Program at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, said: “It is really designed for operability and efficiency.” She pointed out that many of the rooms have no windows at all.

By the middle of the 20th century, the hospital had become contrary to Florence Nightingale’s vision, and many of the buildings, or the buildings modeled on them, are still in use today. “A typical hospital is designed as a machine for providing care, not as a place for treatment,” said Sean Scensor, head of Safdie Architects, which recently designed a hospital in Cartagena, Colombia. “I think what is missing is empathy for people.”

Although Nightingale has been largely based on anecdotal evidence that light and ventilation are important, she was right—but it took more than a century for scientists to collect quantitative data to support her.For example, a Key research in 1984 Published on science Follow up patients after gallbladder surgery. Compared with 23 patients with windows facing the brick wall, 25 patients with green views in the room had shorter hospital stays and took less painkillers.

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