Architecture for Health Promoting Healthcare Meetings
Paper in proceedings, 2017
The purpose with this paper is to present and discuss outcomes from a research integrated master course in architecture. The subject was to explore how healthcare architecture can support patients to be co-producers of their own health.
Today healthcare still tends to primarily focus on diagnostic work and treating diseases when it occurs. In the future, more up-stream health promoting approaches will emerge. One important method is to create meetings where the health problem is analysed together with patient and care giver / team to diagnose and create a care plan. This co-production of health is based on the skills of health care providers and the skills of the patient / family. To support this, healthcare architecture need to be designed for supporting patients to be active co-producers of their own health.
The goal is to explore new architectural solutions for healthcare meetings. The research is executed in an experimental architectural education studio setting. The approach is based in design theory where design learning is seen as systematic reflection in/on incremental pro-totyping. The method is research by design, where critical inquiry is generated through evaluating alternative design proposals.
The Healthcare Studio (Master 22,5 Credits) at Chalmers Architecture annually attracts annually 25-30 students. A typical application project is a hospital site for a new building or healthcare unit with a significant scale and level of complexity and therefore enough chal-lenging. During 2015 and 2016, the commissions for the students has been new buildings for outpatient care. Starting points has been visionary programs from different Swedish healthcare providers i.e. County Councils facility organisation. The students have been en-couraged and supported to develop new spatial solutions for healthcare meetings. These have been based on lectures by researchers from care science, environmental psychology, future studies, architecture etc. Seventeen different projects have been evaluated by a se-lected professional and academic jury.
Inviting patients and citizens to take an active role in medical processes are paradigmatic changes for healthcare. The traditional “hospital like” architecture needs to be challenged in order to invite patients to feel safe and welcomed. To experience an environment as attrac-tive influences how patients perceive healthcare and thereby promotes health. New healthcare environments need to be designed to support a “Sense of coherence” - to under-stand is a prerequisite for being able to take responsibility -is about orientation but also readability and recognition. Future healthcare buildings should to be designed to facilitate new modes and types of meetings between the caregiver/team and the patient. These meet-ing places can have features inspired by other building types and situations where more equal and collaborative situations are sustained. They need to contain a variety of meeting facilities for patients, their relatives and healthcare professionals– clinicians, researchers, students and teachers. As well as being available for the surrounding community, patient organizations and other constellations of citizens to meet with each other or with representa-tives from healthcare.