Quick fixes to enhance the healing environment

Designers pick their top three cost-effective interventions for healthcare settings

Boex has issued its three top tips for enhancing the healing environment, including introducing ceiling art to give bedbound patients something to look at

LED lighting, interactive wall lights and printed ceilings are three quick and cost-effective ways to enhance the healing environment, according to a leading design company.

Boex has drawn up a list of its top three recommendations for small-scale improvements that can provide hard-hitting results by helping to make clinical environments less institutional and more restful, improving the patient experience and enhancing recovery.

Sam Boex, a partner at the firm, said: “It has been proven that enhancing the environment has the ability to stimulate positive emotional reactions, thereby promoting the conditions for recovery. We have chosen a few products that can be retrofitted into existing healthcare spaces to have a huge effect on wellbeing while being cost effective.”

Where there is limited space on the walls of healthcare rooms, with services and fixtures taking priority, using the ceiling can be a simple way to add impact to an area to improve wellbeing

The first improvement is creating ceilings with impact. Boex said: “Where there is limited space on the walls of healthcare rooms, with services and fixtures taking priority, using the ceiling can be a simple way to add impact to an area to improve wellbeing.

“Ceilings are often overlooked as areas that can promote wellbeing, but many healthcare buildings use suspended ceilings and, with modern printing techniques, the ceiling tiles can be directly printed on, providing vivid colour and interest to rooms or corridors.

“Images can also be applied to give information or to create landmarks to help orientation. With advances in LED lighting, there are now light panels that can drop into existing ceiling tile fixtures. LED panels not only use less energy than conventional light fixtures, but also give even light distribution. For many patients undergoing treatment their direct line of site is often focused on the ceiling area. By adding imagery and graphics to the ceiling lights it can add interest and reduce stress levels. LED energy efficient light panels can even add warm light to a space.”

Often, a patient\'s only view is of the ceiling

Taking LED lighting further, his second tip is to use coloured lights to modify and change the feel of a space.

For many patients undergoing treatment their direct line of site is often focused on the ceiling area. By adding imagery and graphics to the ceiling lights it can add interest and reduce stress levels

“It can be most cost effective when used in environments that need to be adaptable,” he said. “We introduced this lighting into the lounge area of one of our recent healthcare projects. It had to be a versatile space used for eating and dining during the day and then provide a relaxing area in the evening. By adding a simple interactive LED light feature the rooms now have a simple warm light for everyday activities and give a sensory experience in the evening, all through the press of a button.”

LED lighting in various colours can help to create a more relaxed mood in healthcare environments

Finally, he advises using interactive wall lights in corridors, which are often often drab, daunting spaces. Boex said: “Recently, we were commissioned to develop an interactive light feature with the purpose to reassure and add interest to a patient's journey. Running off an existing lighting feed, it is simply fitted to the wall. The unit contains a touch-sensitive switch which enables the user to interact with the feature, changing the colours and animation. The light feature is a contained unit, which means it can be easily cleaned to meet infection control needs as well as providing a unique landmark to help with orientation.”

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