Steelcase conducted a pediatric healthcare-related literature review and developed design principles that can be used in a variety of spaces, from waiting areas to exam rooms. Via the literature review, Steelcase determined that in pediatric healthcare settings “engaging young patients in their surrounding environment can help minimize anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Exploration provides choices, and choices provide a sense of control. . . . Children need movement and sensory experiences to reduce stress. . . .
Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes
The Center for Health Design is providing free, at the web address noted below, an interactive rendering highlighting key research that can be applied during the design of treatment rooms in emergency departments. As noted on the website on which the diagram appears, “Two goals are often at the center of current care models for mental or behavioral health: safety and healing. In the Emergency Department, design has traditionally focused on safety for both patients and staff through checklists for ligature-resistance.
Brochu and collaborators studied links between how green an area is and the death rates of residents. They “conducted a nationwide [in the United States] quantitative health impact assessment to estimate the predicted reduction in mortality associated with an increase in greenness across two decades (2000, 2010, and 2019).
Soininen and colleagues thoroughly investigated the repercussions of having green walls in Finnish offices. They found that “air-circulating green walls may induce beneficial changes in a human microbiome. . . . The green walls (size 2 m × 1 m × 0.3 m) used in this study . . . circulate indoor air. They first absorb the indoor air through the plant roots and soilless substrate, then automated fans circulate the air back to the room.
Significant effects found
The Mason team’s findings support calls to keep light levels low in spaces where people are sleeping. The group reports that their “laboratory study shows that, in healthy adults, one night of moderate (100 lx) light exposure during sleep increases nighttime heart rate, decreases heart rate variability (higher sympathovagal balance), and increases next-morning insulin resistance when compared to sleep in a dimly lit (<3 lx) environment.
Research by Wali and teammates confirms that walkability boosts health. They share that they examined “high resolution data for 476 participants in the Rails and Health study on health care costs, mode specific MVPA[ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity], parcel-level built environment, and neighborhood perception surveys. . . . A 1% increase in bike, walk, and transit-related MVPA was associated with lower health care costs by −0.28%, −0.09%, and −0.27% respectively. A one-unit increase in neighborhood walkability index correlates with a 6.48% reduction in health care costs. . . .
Bafna and colleagues studied how home design can support the wellbeing of older individuals (mean age of participants in their study was 69.5). The investigators report on “a quantitative study of the relationship between a characteristic of the physical home environment—the degree of interconnectedness of its rooms—and the cognitive ability of adults. . . .
Work by a research team lead by Van Den Eeden provides additional evidence that living near green spaces is good for our health. The team reports that they “sought to determine if residential green cover was also associated with direct healthcare costs. We linked residential Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) satellite data for 5,189,303 [people] . . . to direct individual healthcare costs for 2003–2015. . . . we examined the association between direct healthcare costs and green cover within 250, 500, and 1000 meters (m) of an individual’s residence. . . .
A recent study confirms the negative health effects of noise exposure and supports the use of sound insulation. Avel Moreyra lead a study that determined that “People experiencing high levels of noise from cars, trains or planes were more likely to suffer a heart attack. . . . Patients were divided into those experiencing high levels of transportation noise (an average of 65 decibels or higher over the course of the day) and those with low noise exposure (a daily average of less than 50 decibels). A noise level of 65 decibels is similar to a loud conversation or laughter.