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Top Healthcare Design Trends for 2019

“Is this a long-term care facility — or a hotel?”

Sophisticated, inviting designs are overtaking stark and austere in the healthcare space — and for good reason.

Competition.

People have choices in healthcare, whether they’re seeking a rehab facility, clinic or nursing home. That has facility owners and managers scrambling for ways to stand out in this increasingly competitive space.

One key differentiator? Design.

Here’s my take on the top 3 interior design trends we’ll be seeing more of as the year progresses:

Balancing luxury + hominess

Which would you choose?

  1. A facility that provides great care that’s updated and fresh.
  2. A facility that provides great care that’s tired and outdated.

Choice A is a no-brainer. Most people want to get care in a place that looks good. In fact, it influences how they feel about that care.

When people are in a healthcare facility that looks better, they perceive the quality of care to be higher, says Shelia J. Bosch, director of healthcare research at Gresham, Smith & Partners, in an article for interiorsandsources.com.

That can translate into greater ROI on renovating design, as the facility grows in popularity. Lobbies and entryways in particular are emphasized for luxurious finishes and hotel- or spa-like details — like the lobby pictured that I designed for a long-term care facility revamp — in order to create a strong first impression.

But when it comes to resident rooms, it gets a bit tricky. In long-term care facilities, residents don’t want to feel like they’re staying at a hotel — they want to feel at home. Here, you’re better off toning down any uber-modern, sharp touches to create a softer, homier — yet still attractive — atmosphere.

For the love of nature

Green is the new stark-white.

Bringing the outside in with natural scenery, lighting and, well, any type of growing thing, is becoming commonplace in healthcare facilities. Termed “biophilic design,” the goal is to get the people inside to connect to the Great Outdoors.

Why?

Because you feel better when you interact with nature. And that’s pretty important in a healthcare facility.

When exposed to nature:

  • Patient recover faster. (Remember, that 1984 study by Roger Ulrich? He found that post-op patients with tree views out their windows used fewer pain meds and had shorter hospital stays than those with views of a wall.)
  • Staff members are happier — which could lower turnover, a major challenge in healthcare.
  • Family members and visitors feel less stressed.

Win-win all-around.

Tech-time

Move over Smart Homes. Make way for Smart Rooms — in healthcare facilities.

As much as we grumble about technology, it makes our lives easier and run more smoothly. That’s exponentially more valuable in a healthcare facility — where rapid decisions and quick actions can save a life. That’s why we’re seeing more integration of technology in healthcare design.

Like electronic check-in stations at the doctor’s office…who doesn’t love being able to fill out those forms by typing instead of writing?

A critical spot for technology upgrades: The resident’s room. Here you may be lucky enough to find a “smart controller” or built-in portal that allows the patient to adjust the lighting or temperature, put on music or change the channel, surf the internet, call a nurse — all from one device.

There are even portals from which the doctor can check in on a patient — without stepping into the room.

Aside from convenience and time savings, these afford the person in bed the ability to take back some control, at a time when their body may be failing them. This kind touch contributes to their well-being and happiness and how they perceive their care.