The Definitive Win-Win; Evidence-Based Design Art Boosts Patient Outcomes & De-stresses Healthcare Staff. EBD art is creating positive outcomes for patients, healthcare workers, family members and visitors while contributing to facility brand. Healthcare settings tend to create ill-ease for most people, whether for prevention, maintenance or more critical situations. Even family members and caregivers experience disquiet under unpredictable situations. In recent years, studies have shown that aesthetics are just as important as medicine and nutrition for positive impact on patient outcomes.
Several reports have been published in the Healthcare Design Magazine, and The Center for Health Design was developed by a dedicated group of healthcare workers and designers to improve the quality of healthcare settings. Similarly, Evidence-Based Design has become an industry niche for photographers like David Coblitz of St. Louis (http://bit.ly/EvidenceBasedDesignPhotos) and healthcare design specialists like medical interior designer Myra Katz. (http://www.mlkinteriors.com).
Evidence-Based Design (EBD) and Art have demonstrated that building design combined with soothing, serene, engrossing nature scenes results in reduced recovery time, and an overall reduction in stress and pain levels when compared to “traditional” settings. Reductions in sedatives and pain medications have been reported. These benefits apply to staff as well as patients. To create a relaxing, supportive atmosphere for visitors, family members and staff, nature-based photographic images have become an important design feature for new and existing healthcare settings.
Because each setting varies by situation, age group, and purpose, the artwork most beneficial for healing and recovery will vary from one site to another. For instance, design variations for pediatric wards, mental health centers, rehab centers, ER waiting rooms, dental offices and individual patient rooms, when chosen with the audience in mind, will deliver positive feelings of shelter, safety and protection. With the help of art consultants, architects, interior designers, and photographers, the following scenes have been found to be most effective: • Water: rivers, streams, lakes and ocean vistas • Landscapes: prairies, mountains, state & national parks • Flowers: wildflowers, fields, themed gardens Trees, wildlife, clouds, sunbeams, paths and shorelines provide additional interest which takes the viewer on a mental journey. Additional elements that contribute to the effectiveness include nature scenes that the patient may not have seen before, such as the circular rainbow. These calming, peaceful scenes promote relaxation, inspire positive thoughts, and distract from the stress or anxiety that typically encompasses most healthcare settings.
Items that have been found not to work well are abstracts, and sculptural objects with pointy features, and the use of colors that mimic bodily fluids.
EBD is also proving beneficial to healthcare administrators, teaching hospitals, senior facilities and other health-related settings, improving morale, student retention and diminishing turnover rates. Another area of interest currently involving EBD is the development of healthcare brands. With the positive effect of healing art, healthcare facilities are including their themed artwork in their brand development.
The photographs accompanying this article are examples of EBD art. While actual physical garden areas have been shown to be the most effective, engrossing nature photographs are the second most effective environmental feature found to improve medical outcomes. Photographs that enhance the nature scene, such as the back lit large tree or macro-views of patterns such as in the daisy image, bring a unique aesthetic that appeals to patrons. Other popular scenes include images of hospitable, peaceful areas to live, as seen in the image of the pond with ducks under a fair-weather sky. These visuals reach deep into the oldest areas of our brain and are inherently soothing.
To learn more about Evidence-Based Design and Art, visit these resources:
ArtsAndHealthCareAlliance (Google it. I can't get the link working)
Authors: Kristen McLain, editor with David Coblitz, EBD artist & writer
Photographs courtesy of David Coblitz, Photographer.
Example EBD photographs shown at Healing Art Examples are courtesy of David Coblitz – Fine Art Photographer