The Center for Health Design has conducted research about design having effects on hospitals. According to the study, the average cost of adverse events in hospitals in the U.S. is 37.6 billion, while the average cost of preventable adverse events is 17 billion dollars. There are many aspects of hospital design that can contribute to reducing accidents or errors. Below are some of the environmental variables they sited:
- Inadequate lighting (too light or too dark): Higher light levels are recommended to reduce error, but too much light and reflection/glare could increase discomfort. Surfaces that reduce glare and exposure to daylight will improve lighting in healthcare settings.
- Color: Warm colors, like red, increase people’s awareness and alertness of their environment – best used in offices or lounges. Cool colors, like blues and greens, enable people to focus on mental and visual tasks – best used in areas with noise (hallways) or secluded/rehabilitation rooms.
- Workstation Design: Desks where nurses feet can be close to the counter will reduce fatigue and tension from standing for long periods. Proper training on how the hospital furniture works/maneuvers will decrease error. Apparatuses having different sounds, colors and feelings will help reduce decision time and organized the space.
- Layout: Single occupancy rooms reduce need for fewer transfers, medication errors and spreading of infection. Nurses are also able to better respond to the emotional needs of patients in these rooms.
Shaw Contract Group designs specific carpeting based on the needs of healthcare institutions. Research and evidence-based design goes in to creating carpet with a purpose and in mindful colors. Carpeting cuts back on leg fatigue by creating a softer step. Becuase it absorbs light, carpet is a great choice for reducing glare.