Category Archives: Design

10 Design Features to Minimize Aggression in Behavioral Health Facilities

vistaII_01Patients arriving at a behavioral health facility may already be stressed due to their medical state or the fact that they may be admitted involuntarily. Often stress can lead to aggression in this type of environment, making it difficult for staff to perform optimally. It is reported that 32.4% of patients admitted to behavioral health facilities engaged in aggressive behavior or violence.

The thought is that if the built environment had design features to minimize aggression, then there would be an increase in the safety and well-being of patients and staff.

An article titled Psychiatric ward design can reduce aggressive behavior that was recently included in the Journal of Environmental Psychology highlights 10 design features to minimize aggression in behavioral health environments:

Minimize Crowding

  1. Shared bedrooms cause higher crowding stress, reduced privacy, more aggression, increased illness complaints and social withdrawal. Therefore, single patient rooms with private bathrooms lessen the stress associated with crowded spaces.
  2. Communal areas with seating options and ample space to regulate relationships are important. Since personal space intrusions can trigger aggression, it’s vital for patients to have ample personal space with seating options. This allows them to monitor their interactions with others and can keep greater distances.
  3. Design for a low ratio of patients to the number of rooms available. This will help reduce crowding and allow patients the ability to move between different rooms comfortably – regulating relationships and avoiding stressors.

Reduce Noise, Increase Control

  1. Uncontrollable or random noise increases stress and can trigger aggression. Therefore, noise reducing design can lessen stress and improves communication between staff and patients. Design measures for reducing noise include walls and doors that block noise, as well as sound-absorbing environmental surfaces that diminish echoing.
  2. A patient can become stressed when exposed to environmental conditions that are out of their control. Therefore, patient rooms should be designed with a certain level of control. Design features may include ways a patient can personalize their room or have operable features such as lighting and windows.

Positive Distractions

  1. It is well documented that gardens accessible to patients can reduce stress and improve emotional well-being. Gardens designed with informal natural styles that include vegetation and flowers are more effective in reducing stress than structured or geometric gardens with prominent hardscape.
  2. Nature window views can also reduce stress and diminish anger. Although not as effective as physically being in a garden, it is still beneficial.
  3. When selecting accessories for behavioral health facilities, realistic nature art should be considered. It is more effective at reducing stress and aggression than abstract artwork.
  4. Patients exposure to daylight may have shorter stays and staff exposed to daylight report less stress, better health, and higher satisfaction.

Design for Observations

  1. Final design features to minimize aggression include communal spaces and bedroom doors observable from a central area to help staff anticipate and prevent aggressive behavior. Floor layouts with a central area for observation should be considered over corridor-dominated designs.

 

Specifying Heavy Duty Chairs for Healthcare Environments

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Healthcare environments are nonstop with 24/7 use. It’s also a place that must serve the entire population, including people who are overweight and people with behavioral and mental health conditions. Therefore, it’s important to provide seating in these spaces that can withstand heavy loads, constant use and potential abuse. Often referred to as heavy-duty chairs, this type of seating is considered high-quality and can resist damage due to it’s superior internal structure and durable exterior finishes.

Internal Construction of Heavy Duty Chairs

With the increased weight of the population, new test standards for seating are under consideration which will address 99.5% of male population in the US.  These proposed standards will be based on testing a chair to 600lbs. Meeting these heavy-duty chair requirements takes sophisticated engineering and strong internal components.

Most companies do not specify the thickness (gauge) of steel used in their seating products. Many are commonly made of 16-gauge tubing, however 14-gauge tubing is recommended and provides the superior strength required for heavy-duty chairs. It’s important to recognize that the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel.  More specifically, 16-gauge steel is .065” thick, and 14-gauge steel is .083” thick.  That’s a difference of .018” which might seem like a small number, but it translates to being 22% thicker! This is an important consideration when comparing competitive seating products.

High resilience foam is used in the manufacturing of heavy duty chairs. This foam is the highest grade of polyurethane foam weighing 3 lb. per cubic foot. This foam contours the back and seat of a person sitting in the chair exceptionally well.  The foams cell structure enables extreme elastic and optimal supporting force. It’s the elastic of high resilience foam that helps to prolong the comfort life of the chair and with regular use should last at least twelve years.

 Durable Exterior Design of Heavy Duty Chairs

With the trend towards residential appeal in healthcare environments, not only must heavy-duty chairs have a strong internal core, they must have an extremely durable and aesthitically pleasing exterior that withstands constant use and the harsh cleaning regiments of healthcare environements.

Chosen fabrics for healthcare seating should resist spills, stains, odors and microbial growth. This will keep heavy-duty chairs cleaner and looking great longer. CF Stinson’s vinyl, non-pvc and Crypton fabric repels and releases both water and oil based stains, has an integrated non-porous moisture barrier and protects against bacteria and odor causing microbes using silver ion technology.

Finishing options such as wood, solid surface and polyurethane arm caps protect the chair arms and makes them easier to clean, enhancing the overall longevity of heavy duty chairs.

If you’re looking at heavy-duty chairs for your next project, below are some of our favorites:

Heavy Duty Seating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oasis Seating for Behavioral Health

Onward Heavy Duty Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onward Seating for Behavioral Health

Vista II - Heavy Duty Seating for Behavioral Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vista II Seating for Behavioral Health

 

Webinar: Designing for Adolescents in Mental Health Crisis: A Story of Research, Innovation, and Hope

We are a proud sponsor of the upcoming webinar: Designing for Adolescents in Mental Health Crisis: A Story of Research, Innovation, and Hope

Adolescence can be a tumultuous time in one’s life. Mental health conditions often surface during this stage, and it may be the first time that some patients enter an inpatient behavioral health unit. How can design best support this patient population that is transitioning from childhood to adulthood? Learn how a design team utilized research, Lean processes, and innovation to solve the challenges of this unique patient population for the 27-bed Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit in Tacoma, Washington. Find out how design can support a seclusion- and restraint-free care model and how pushing beyond the conventions of behavioral healthcare design was achieved.

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear current trends in behavioral healthcare models that impact the design of the built environment.
  • Examine how research influenced and contributed to shaping the environment and the attitudes of clinical operations, design, and construction teams.
  • Learn about highly specialized spaces and innovations in behavioral health design that contribute to improved safety for patients and staff.
  • Learn how Lean tools were utilized to quickly gain consensus, innovate, meet an aggressive project schedule, and achieve goals.

Register here.

3 Crucial Considerations for Healthcare Waiting Room Design & Layout

Waiting happens in almost every healthcare setting – from the initial check-in, diagnosis, and treatment to anticipating a disease outcome. Although the actual waiting time varies in different types of facilities, the waiting experience is usually tedious and even stressful for many patients and their families. Therefore, it’s imperative to provide patients with a waiting experience and incorporate a waiting room design that reduces negativity and promotes calmness and wellbeing. There are three crucial considerations for waiting room design that will give a positive, comfortable and welcoming experience for patients.

Waiting Room Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Waiting Room Design – Overall Layout

Have a solid understanding of where patients enter and exit the establishment.  Signage should be strategically placed ensuring patients know where to go when they arrive.  Your waiting room design should be open enough to allow foot traffic to flow freely, and if possible, patients should not have to retrace their steps or cross paths with other patients.

  1. Waiting Room Design – Furniture Selection

The most important part of your waiting room design is your furniture specification; providing patients with their first impression and ultimately their comfort level in your space.  The focal point of a waiting room is usually the reception desk. It should be easily viewable and accessible from the entrance. Choose a reception desk that has adequate storage and a shape and finish that compliments your décor. Seating needs to be comfortable and attractive and have a variety of options; giving patients control as to where they sit. Decide how much furniture you’ll need; how many waiting chairs will be used on your busiest day and add tables to allow patients to have a place for drinks, purses, phones and reading material. Finally, any upholstered furniture needs to be healthcare grade quality and easy-to-clean to avoid healthcare-acquired infections.

  1. Waiting Room Design – Design Elements

In a medical environment, colors should be calm and tranquil. Color elements can be in the form of paint on a wall or artwork such as paintings and photography.  Blue provides a sense of calm and peacefulness that can put people at ease. Beige is also calming and can help reflect light, making the waiting room appear warmer and airier.  Brown is a great complimentary color when paired with something lighter. In your waiting room design, consideration should also be given to utilizing different sources of light to create a welcoming waiting room design. Natural light with a view of the outdoors provides a welcome distraction to those who are waiting.

Ultimately the goal is to provide a functional layout while combining lighting, furnishings and color for a positive and soothing waiting experience.

Top Healthcare Design Links In February

Below are our top 3 healthcare design links in February:

6 Tips for Taking Good Install Photos On Your Smart Phone
Last month we shared a post on how to take good install pics on your smart phone.  Tips included; choosing the right perspective, clearing the clutter, choosing correct lighting, use a tripod, lock the focus and choosing the right angle.

4 Tips for Designing the Hospital of the Future
Using an evidence-based design (EBD) approach, DLR Group determined the hospital of the future includes lighting and temperature controlled by patients, personal information systems through an interactive television, acuity-adaptable rooms and more.

How to Effectively Use Color in Treatment Facilities
This article admits there is no one-size-fits-all approach in using color in treatment center design, there are some general tips.  The color shouldn’t jump out, but instead feel light and happy in the space. Accent colors to consider for treatment centers include pastel hues of blue and green; warm purple or violet; warm yellow and orange; and taupe.

6 Tips for Taking Good Install Photos on Your Smart Phone

We all love looking at beautiful installation photos.  They help us feel inspired and provide the ability to visualize the vast variations of furniture and fabric options available. When you send us your pictures of Stance Healthcare furniture in healing environments, you could receive $150!*  It’s also an excellent way for you to promote your project and gain exposure.  Did I mention you could receive $150?  If you’re not comfortable with taking photos of furniture and healthcare interiors, I’ve included some guidelines below to help you get started:

  1. Choose the Right Perspective.
    Think about the furniture piece you want to capture before taking the photo. Think about if you want to photograph one piece of furniture or an entire healthcare space. Walk around the room and see where the best view is to capture the overall essence of the furniture in its environment.
  1. Clear the Clutter
    Keep it simple.  The environment should be clear of any clutter, enabling the piece of furniture to be the focal point. Remove magazines and pamphlets from tables and pillows from chairs.  If in doubt – take it out. 
  1. Choose the Correct Lighting
    The type of lighting found in healthcare environments may not necessarily be conducive to taking photos.  However, turn off your flash and take advantage of using as much natural light as possible. Nowadays, hospitals are built with more natural light to promote well-being, so make sure to open up the blinds. The light should fill the entire area you are photographing.  The best time to take photos that incorporate natural light is in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  1. Use A Tripod
    If possible, use a tripod.  This is especially important in low lighting to help prevent blurriness. It can also help ensure your photos are level. There are many options available for inexpensive compact smart phone tripods – some are even able to wrap around poles, have magnetic feet and a remote shutter!
  1. Lock the Focus
    If you want to prevent your smartphone from attempting to grab a different subject in the frame, lock the focal point on the furniture you want to capture. To do this, simply tap your phone screen on the key furniture piece you want to focus on and your smartphone will do the rest!
  1. Choose the Right Angle
    To highlight the furniture in the healing space, you will likely want to take your photo horizontally.  You’ll also want to make sure you hold the phone flat to the wall to prevent any distortion.  Move around the room taking at least 5 – 10 photos and you’ll be sure to have at least one winning photograph!

If all else fails, hire a photographer to take the photo for you 😉

This post was written in collaboration with David Briggs Photography.

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5 Considerations: Specifying Behavioral Healthcare Furniture

1 in 5 patients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit may commit an act of violence, and between 75% and 100% of nursing staff on acute psychiatric units have been assaulted by a patient at some stage in their careers. That’s an alarming number!  Fortunately, there are things a facility can do to minimize the risk to patients, staff, and visitors. Investing in furnishings specifically designed and manufactured for behavioral health facilities is one consideration.

Here are five things to consider when purchasing furnishings for your next Behavioral Health project:

Safety
This is the most important consideration when specifying furniture for behavioral health facilities.  Seating designed for safety will inhibit concealment, feature anti-ligature components, have no sharp points or edges, include tamper-resistant hardware, break-resistant glides, and floor-wall mount options.

Durability
Furniture can help combat self-destructive behavior; it should be movable, yet too heavy to throw. Tables and seating finishes should be specified to deter destruction that leads to objects that can inflict harm to themselves and others.  High-pressure laminate, solid surface, and polyurethane surfaces are application specific finish options and can be used where appropriate. Specifying healthcare-grade upholstery materials provides additional durability.

Aesthetics
It’s true – the behavioral health landscape has changed.  The principles of Concierge Healthcare Design are being applied to Behavioral Health Facilities to help ease the anxiety of patients, caregivers, and caretakers.  Furniture is specified with residential appeal, and materials should be specified for their symbolic meaning rather than for pure functionality. Avoid complex patterns, color stimulation, and reflective surfaces.

Infection Control
Healthcare-acquired infections are always a concern in any healthcare setting. Seating should be easy-to-clean with a 3-way clean sweep around seat cushions, contain no crevices that encourage concealment and provide textiles and finishes that withstand stringent cleaning agents.

Comfort
Furniture should be selected to help patients, and visitors feel at ease. Upholstered furniture provides the ultimate comfort for seating.  Multiple types of seating and sizes should also be specified to give patients and visitors the choice of finding furniture most comfortable for them.

5 Resources for Behavioral Health Designers

Behavioral Health design is a critical component of patient care that comes with its own set of challenges. Consideration must be given to the healing environment, populations served, current research and industry regulations. Below are some resources to help you get started on your next Behavioral Health design project:

Design for Mental and Behavioral Health

Design for Mental and Behavioral Health
By Mardelle McCuskey Shepley and Samira Pasha
This book summarizes design principles and design research for individuals who are intending to design new mental and behavioral health facilities and those wishing to evaluate the quality of their existing facilities. The authors discuss mental and behavioral health systems, design guidelines, design research and existing standards, and provide examples of best practices.

Design Guide for the Built Environment of Behavioral Health Facilities
The Facility Guidelines Institute – By James M. Hunt and David M. Sine
This design guide provides fundamental design requirements for behavioral health facilities and helps providers and design teams develop physical environments that support safe and effective behavioral health services. It also includes best practices for protecting patients and staff.

Common Mistakes in Designing Psychiatric Hospitals
The Facility Guidelines Institute – By James M. Hunt and David M. Sine
This document addresses patient and staff safety concerns when designing behavioral health facilities, the general layout for psychiatric units, as well as the varying levels of precautions. It also includes a risk assessment matrix to use in the planning process.

Design Research and Behavioral Health Facilities
The Center for Health Design – By Mardelle M. Shepley and Samira Pasha
This document is focused on linking research to behavioral health design and summarizes research findings from over 115 articles. Ultimately the document provides design considerations and best practices for behavioral health facilities, as suggested by research results and experts in the field.

Mental Health Facilities
Department of Veterans Affairs
This design guide provides technical architectural and engineering specifications, as well as emphasizing principles and strategies for building state-of-the-art, recovery-oriented environments for mental health settings in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

4 Behavioral Health Educational Sessions You’ll Want to Attend

Healthcare Design Expo + Conference

Healthcare Design Expo + Conference – November 2017

The Healthcare Design Expo + Conference taking place this November has an abundance of educational sessions, workshops, and tours for attendees to take advantage of.  This year the conference is offering four educational sessions discussing recent developments in behavioral health, and the various environments and design factors that foster effective care. Sunday is jam-packed with these informative sessions led by industry thought leaders:

Design for Mental and Behavioral Health
Sunday, November 12, 2017: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

his session will provide an overview of design research on mental and behavioral health facilities. The narrative includes a systematic review of the literature on design research; summarizes population research; and provides case studies for facilities including acute care, outpatient and emergency care, residential care, and the treatment of chemical dependency. The session is ideal for individuals who are intending to design new mental and behavioral health facilities and those wishing to evaluate the quality of their existing facilities. Presenters will also discuss mental and behavioral health models, design guidelines, design research, and existing standards, and provide examples of best practice.

Walk in their Footsteps: Research into Elders with Neurocognitive Disorders and their Environment
Sunday, November 12, 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

Neurocognitive disorders often affect the elder population, resulting in memory and cognition issues with behaviors that can include wandering, aggression, or apathy. This session will present the results of a research study done using a customized iPad application that tracked the behavior, walking patterns, and repetitive motions of an elderly population with dementia. This template will specifically focus on the interaction between elements of the designed environment and the person’s resulting behavior. Attendees will explore how the designed environment can mitigate neurocognitive disorder symptoms. Take away this tool that can be used in pre-design and post-design phases.

Designing for Adolescents in Mental Health Crisis: A Story of Research, Innovation, and Hope
Sunday, November 12, 1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Adolescence can be a tumultuous time in one’s life. Mental health conditions often surface during this stage, and it may be the first time that some patients enter an inpatient behavioral health unit. How can design best support this patient population that is transitioning from childhood to adulthood? Learn how a design team utilized research, Lean processes, and innovation to solve the challenges of this unique patient population for the 27-bed Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit in Tacoma, Wash. Find out how design can support a seclusion- and restraint-free care model and how pushing beyond the conventions of behavioral healthcare design was achieved.

The Medical Behavioral Unit: Enhancing Patient Safety and Experience Through Design
Sunday, November 12, 2017: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

With no known precedent, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pursued a vision to develop a new pediatric patient care unit: one that would meet the requirements and licensure of an acute care unit, but would provide a safe and supportive environment for patients with a comorbid developmental, behavioral, or psychiatric diagnosis. A multidisciplinary team worked together to envision, plan, and design an environment to support a new model of care for this unique population. Key elements of the project—a remodel of an existing unit—include patient, family, and staff health; circadian lighting; biophilic design; and safety.

Biophilic Design in Behavioral Healthcare

Using nature to inspire calming and comforting spaces

Biophilic Design in BHBiophilic design is defined as the basic human inclination to affiliate with nature. At its core, it is simply the “love of nature:· The idea of biophilic design resonates with behavioral health as it combines therapeutic spaces with a sense of calm and comfort.

This type of design strategy does not only involve images of nature as decoration to create a sense of safety and well-being for behavioral health patients but also helps them on a deeper level by incorporating the cycles, patterns and spatial qualities of nature. Careful consideration must be given to avoid literal representations of imagery that may trigger an undesirable response.

Biophilic design includes a natural or artificial lighting system that changes throughout the day, reflective of a human’s circadian rhythm. It also includes artwork of nature, patient rooms that overlook green space or gardens, and public spaces that are comfortable and provide an unobstructed view of nature when seated.

Sounds and textures can also be incorporated into the overall design. Sounds that are reminiscent of being outdoors can provide patients with comfort, familiarity and possible improvements in mental health. Choosing biomorphic patterns, as well as natural textures and finishes for furniture can also help create a sense of comfort.

Stance Healthcare offers multiple collections of coordinating patient room and public space furniture that encourage a sense of well-being by using nature as an inspiration.These heavy-duty furniture products were developed in consultation with healthcare interior designers, behavioral health practitioners, facility managers and housekeeping staff. All of Stance Healthcare’s furniture for behavioral health applications can be specified in natural textures and finishes; adhering to the biophilic design philosophies that result in soothing and therapeutic spaces.