We believe that the architecture of a successful behavioral healthcare space can be non-institutional and feel more residential and less clinical, shattering all negative stigmas surrounding mental health for good.
What does it take to achieve this from a design perspective? The task can be boiled down to three critical facility design objectives:
- The architecture must be non-institutional and residentially themed
- A facility must embody the principles of sustainable and evidenced-based design to foster new treatment models for behavioral health.
- A facility needs to balance formal and informal program spaces, enhancing the patient’s therapeutic treatment options while increasing staff opportunities for collaboration and patient interaction.
In previous decades, behavioral health designs were used to restrict patient freedoms and impose unnecessary barriers to personal interactions. These objectives are no longer supported by modern philosophies. In fact, these old trends are thought to have significantly contributed to higher levels of patient stress and agitation.
Today, we recognize that a patient’s environment of care can provide both safety and dignity and that it is intrinsically linked to the healing process. To develop a truly state-of-the-art facility today, behavioral health centers must find a synergy between architecture and medicine.
Considering the Patient Journey
When designing a facility that fully supports your patients and their care, it helps to look at and listen to your patients very closely. The entire treatment timeline should be viewed with a flexible lens to find ways to better strike a balance between safety, healing and a patient’s sense of dignity.
Specifically, it is helpful to evaluate patient admissions, daily activities, routines, personal care and discharge processes. Based on the data you collect here, designs can evolve to enhance behavioral treatment programs.
In-Demand Design Elements
Architecturally, your materials should be chosen for their warmth and inviting qualities, and this would provide patients with a greater sense of serenity. Ultimately, the creative use of architectural elements will also help to present a non-institutional aesthetic.
Outdoor amenities are also very important. These include pavilions, walking paths, covered tables and chairs and much more. Outdoor features like these encourage time spent in the fresh air and give patients ways to engage with nature.
Creating an Environment for Elevated Care
By improving a behavioral health patient’s well-being through a more supportive environment, it is possible for their treatment to improve, resulting in a reduced length of stay and improved success rates. There is a clear increase in new research findings linking the environment of care and a behavioral health treatment’s success or failure.
Armed with new data and our dedication to advancing the healthcare design, we hope to see behavioral health patients continue to be treated with increasing amounts of dignity and care throughout the healing process.