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HEALING ENVIRONMENTS


DANIEL BRIONES VILLEGAS – PSYCHOLOGIST, ARQMEDYCA, MEXICO CÉSAR RODARTE RANGEL – DIRECTOR OF ARQMEDYCA, MEXICO


The importance of healing design


Combining psychology and architectural disciplines has the potential to guide design principles to create healing environments. So how could the use of colour, nature and lighting promote patient well-being, improve recovery and reduce pain perception? A study, undertaken in Mexico, reveals the key design characteristics that could have a significant impact.


In recent years, there has been a move towards combining different scientific disciplines to solve key challenges in society, such as the relationship between healthcare architecture and psychology. This has given rise to the concept of ‘healing environments’, which is based on the theory that ‘humanising’ the physical environment can help to promote recovery. This article seeks to identify the scientific evidence available to demonstrate the effects of architectural design on physical and psychological health, through a search of medical and psychology databases, such as Pubmed/MedLine, PsychInfo and Cochrane.


Environmental psychology A discipline has emerged that focuses on establishing a better relationship between architecture and the user, known as ‘environmental psychology’, which provides a framework for understanding


Patients staying in spaces with access to natural light experience less anxiety, depression, stress, improve their mood and pain perception, which is reflected in reduced costs for pain medications


the interaction between human beings and their built and/or natural environment.1 The architecture and the design of


the environment influence both the objective and subjective perceptions of the hospital. Since a hospital can generate stress, anxiety or even depression, it can prolong the recovery process and hospital stay.2


architectural design3 – to improve the


user’s experience, increase safety and satisfaction, as well as improving healthcare outcomes.


This has given


rise to multidisciplinary collaboration on evidence-based design – bringing together scientific research and


M. en P. Daniel Briones Villegas


A Mexican psychologist, Daniel has a master’s degree in environmental psychology with a specialty in healthcare environments. Both degrees were obtained from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has


undertaken research in the “Space and Society” laboratory, of the Rennes 2 University in France and at the psycho-


oncology service of the National Institute of Cancerology in Mexico. Today, he is employed by the special projects department of the architectural firm ARQmedyca, based in Mexico City, which specialises in health projects.


Arq. César Rodarte Rangel


A Mexican certified architect in healthcare facilities, César specialises in hospital architectural design and the use of ‘lean’ methodology. He is also undertaking a masters in hospital architecture at the Catholic University of Murcia,


Spain. He is founder and director of ARQmedyca, a company that designs healthcare facilities, and a counsellor for the Mexican Society of Architects Specialising in Health.


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Study aims and methodolgy The aim of our study was to identify scientific evidence that shows the effects of architectural design on physical and psychological health. This included identifying key elements that may be significant in a room – such as colour, lighting and nature – thereby providing a potential guide for design. The initial hypothesis was that architectural features could improve physical and psychological health level in outpatients, while the approach taken was non-experimental, longitudinal.4 The inclusion criteria comprised:


l observational and correlational studies. l studies whose main objective is to evaluate the effects of facilities on physical and psychological experience in hospitalised patients of health institutions.


l studies that have included patients of any age range.


l studies that have been carried out in the last 10 years, from 2009 to 2019. In addition, the search was made in medical and psychological databases such as Pubmed/MedLine, PsychInfo and Cochrane, containing scientific evidence of the effects of architectural design – both physical and psychological.


IFHE DIGEST 2020


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