The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Southeast Regional Medical Center includes sustainable features intended to enhance patient experience, ranging from thermal breaks in the envelope to extensive plantings of native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees.Harlan Hambright/courtesy of dewberry
How to Focus on Health and Wellness in Sustainable Healthcare Facilities
A further emphasis on nutritional foods and better outdoor spaces, such as healing gardens, are important trends in sustainable healthcare design and operation.
Health, wellness, and sustainability come together in the demonstration kitchens of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America facilities in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. These hospitals have demonstration kitchens where patients are taught how to prepare and cook nutritional foods as part of a holistic approach in which patients are engaged in their treatment. In Phoenix, the hospital leased land it owned next door to an organic farm, which sold food back to the hospital, Elias explains.
Another trend in wellness is design that enhances physical activity and provides easy access to outdoor spaces. Features such as healing gardens, resting alcoves, and irresistible stairs encourage both patients and healthcare providers to remain active. For years, it was standard practice to put stairs in the corner of the building, where they were often locked for security reasons and used only to exit the building in an emergency. But now hospitals are creating stairways that “allow people to interact with the building and the space,” says Thayer. Such stairs encourage people to move, as do alcoves along corridors designed to allow a resting place for partially ambulatory patients who easily get winded. Accessible gardens, either on the roof or the ground, provide healing spaces. Some children’s hospitals have interactive “playgrounds” so that children who are too sick to go outside are able to see and interact with other children playing in an outside garden.
Maryellen Lo Bosco is a freelance writer who covers facility management and technology. She is a contributing editor for Building Operating Management.
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