How an Intention Can Inspire Patients

As an Integrative Space™ specialist, I consider the intention-setting exercise the most important aspect of a project. In order to make a facility unique, remarkable and memorable, it’s paramount that there be an explicit and deliberate theme that permeates the space. It provides a unified message to patients as well as those who work in that space.

Doing this intention-setting during the planning and design stage can pay off even when no one is aware there was a focus on any specific quality or purpose.

Working with a doctor who was opening an independent clinic for women provided the perfect example of the power of intention. Her clinic was in a part of the city where diversity was high. Many of the women who would be her patients had been forced to flee their homeland, who suffered from PTSD, who were sexually abused, and who had experienced having no food. The doctor wanted a haven for them and a place where they would feel safe. We set the concept of “safety” in motion by color selections, furniture choices, light fixtures, bathroom placement, her position in her office, and items that were joyful.  Always asking: Does this feel safe? Would this be found in a haven?

Did it work? She shares now that it’s not uncommon for some women to come to her waiting room just to talk to one another even when they’re not patients, just to be somewhere where they feel safe and protected. They keep reinforcing her intention by telling her how “safe” it feels here. I’d say it worked.

A hospital in Wisconsin was built on the intention of it not feeling like a hospital. The concierge who works at the front desk verifies whenever a new patient walks through the door, their first words are “This doesn’t feel like a hospital.” That intention was put in place approximately 15 years ago.

Setting an intention solidifies the feeling of the space. And although someone may not consciously be aware of that, they can feel it. Involving staff in the intention-setting experience amplifies its effect because now there are “ambassadors” who not only support the intention itself but benefit from it as well.

Accomplishing this experience requires thoughtful planning up front but with long-lasting positive outcomes. An intentionally built space makes one facility more memorable from another. People feel the difference without having to know what or why. This is the enigmatic effect of an Integrative Space.

Image of Gold Coast Private Hospital