integrative space

How the Patient Experience is Improved Using an Integrative Space™ Approach

A person walking into a medical facility, whether a patient or an accompanying family member or friend, is probably not without some concern, nervousness, or even fear.  People don’t typically go to a clinic or hospital unless there’s an issue.

Tension and worry do not support healing. In fact, they rebound on themselves, creating more tension and worry.  One way to stop this is a diversion tactic, which allows thoughts and emotions to take a break and concentrate on something else for a few moments.

It’s understood that waiting rooms, exam rooms, hallways, even offices should be clinical and professional.  This approach would assure a patient that they were getting excellent medical care.

However, in an article published in 2011 by Healthcare Design Magazine entitled Five Need-to-Know Trends Shaping Healthcare Design, some of the trends that address the patient experience are ways for them to feel special and unique and to have the assurance that the facility truly cares for them.  Patients want a positive experience just as much as they want good health care.  They don’t want good health care more—they want them both equally.

From an Integrative Spaces™ approach, here are a few ways to create a more positive patient experience in waiting rooms, exam rooms, hallways, and consult rooms:

  • Provide a connection to nature:  People heal by being in nature—-biophilic design is based on this concept. Make sure there are windows in rooms, hallways, and offices. Bring in plants and/or fresh flowers.  Install a fountain.
  • Hang engaging artwork.  Let the patient lose themselves in a compelling scene by a river or a painting of a flower or a tapestry with fine detail.  Then, change the artwork up every few months (especially in public places), so there’s always the expectation of something new and different to look at.
  • Provide inspirational reading material:  A coffee-table book or an art magazine or a book of poems filled with fine art, photographs, and sayings can inspire, lift the soul, and provide a new perspective, just when they may need one.  Time spent waiting in the reception area, the exam room or the consulting room will be less annoying.
  • Let them move furniture:  Some patients come alone; some want a family member with them; some want their entire family to accompany them.  When chairs are locked together in long neat rows as they often are in waiting rooms, they can’t accommodate specific seating preferences.  Let’s allow those who want to be more isolated from those who prefer the group experience.

Implementing an Integrative Space approach can support a patient by aligning their medical analysis with their own personal potential.  Reflecting on a landscape, real or photographed, reading a poem that speaks to their soul, or being able to create their own comfortable seating area are all ways their potential for healing is magnified.

Furthermore, once the patient has had a positive experience, it lingers in their mind long after they’ve left the building extending their healing—even if the chairs seem messy.

For more discussion about the importance of an Integrative Space in healthcare, read my article Healthcare Space with Empathy

To download one my e-books, please go to Integrative Healthcare Design eBooks — Integrative Space for Hospitals, Integrative Space for Clinics, Integrative Space for Senior Living Facilities.