These days, the building design of a healthcare facility plays a significant role in a patient’s treatment and recovery, as well as the improvement of the well-being of its employees. It is a philosophy that guides two of the growing healthcare construction trends.
In 2006, the Center for Health Design published an analysis of peer-reviewed journals that focused on the effects of light in a healthcare setting. Some of the notable findings include the following:
- Lighting can affect the performance of healthcare professionals. The right one can reduce errors in filling out a prescription. It can also enhance the way they do visual tasks.
- Lighting has a contribution in maintaining (or disrupting) the circadian rhythm. It matters to nurses and doctors who struggle with erratic schedules, as well as patients who need the right amount of sleep.
- Lighting can also affect mood.
Modifying the lighting system to fit the ever-changing needs of a healthcare facility can be daunting and can also be very inefficient. To address this issue, a design and construction company in New Zealand has introduced programmable lighting. It can incorporate dimmers that can help minimise glare.
Double Glazed Windows
Many healthcare facilities are also using double-glazed windows, which comprise of at least two layers of panes with a vacuum or space in between. The design’s most significant benefits are in energy efficiency and insulation. They can decrease heat loss during winter and prevent excessive heat during summer.
In the healthcare setting, though, it has another use: noise control. While some research points to how sound can help in the healing process, a high level of noise can delay recovery. One of the studies, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, revealed that sleep restrictions might delay wound healing. This is even if the person maintains proper nutrition.
Just like other countries, New Zealand’s healthcare system faces many challenges. Several older people are living longer. The economic burden of chronic conditions is increasing. The labour shortage can mean higher wages.
Keeping older people healthy and independent can include more health and social services than needed for younger individuals. Moreover, older adults are more likely to have a disability and more than one ailment. With that in mind, New Zealand wants a health program that helps people live longer but also spend more of that life in excellent health.
Unfortunately, some population groups in New Zealand do not benefit from the health and disability program as much as others. For instance, while New Zealanders, in general, are living longer, Māori and Pacific peoples still have lower lifespans than the population as a whole. Individuals with a mental disorder can also expect to live for 18–23 fewer years than others. Disabled people typically experience worse health than the majority of the population.
In the end, these two innovative solutions can help the country manage these problems in many ways. These include reducing energy costs, potentially reducing burnout and illness among professionals and speeding up the recovery of patients.