Designing for accessibility and a healing environment

Healthcare facilities have complex and stringent design requirements. With specification of interior finishes key, the UK Sales manager at Construction Specialties UK considers some of the main design considerations and legislative requirements.

Healthcare facilities have some of the most complex and stringent design requirements of any public or private buildings. The right balance must be struck between meeting the functional requirements of specific building areas, and creating an environment conducive to patient wellbeing. With specification of interior finishes a critical part of the overall design process, Kate Waterston, UK Sales manager at Construction Specialties UK, looks at the key design considerations and legislative requirements.

With large numbers of visitors, and high internal traffic, healthcare facilities face potentially huge maintenance costs to remedy surface damage, in order to ensure safe access and a safe environment for all patients, visitors, and staff. While all the functional requirements clearly need to be considered when designing healthcare interiors, there is also growing evidence of the importance of the patient experience to the healing process. It is well-proven that a building’s physical design, and the internal environment and comfort and ambience, can have a nurturing and therapeutic effect on patients, helping them to recover more quickly from injury or illness, making a simple, utilitarian approach to hospital design a thing of the past

A hospital designed to maximise healing will also benefit medical staff – through improved performance levels and better relationships with patients, and have a positive impact on visitors, encouraging them to come in more frequently, or for longer periods. As a result, a focus on creating and maintaining really effective and well-designed healing environments can bring the healthcare provider concerned some positive return on investment via enhanced staff recruitment, productivity, and retention, as well as improved patient outcomes. 

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