In recent years, design that promotes good health has become more and more central to the way healthcare environments are conceived. Here, we want to give two examples of Danish-designed hospitals that aid good health through their designs.
The Danish design studio Rosan Bosch Studio has redesigned the Heart Centre at Copenhagen University Hospital with the purpose of creating a better working environment and providing an attractive common area for the patients. Using design as a tool, Rosan Bosch Studio has efficiently optimised the functions of the limited space in the staff areas. Within the same footprint, the redesigned spaces now offer differentiated areas for meetings and briefings as well as space for focus and concentration.
According to architect Maria Maj Hansen, from Rosan Bosch Studio, who has been involved with the project at Copenhagen University Hospital, putting the patient first was a central part of the redesign of the Heart Centre.
“Custom-designed furniture and innovative interior actions make room for the patients’ different needs, with access to cosy dining areas and areas of special focus. Moreover, transparent, systematic storage opportunities offer the staff a quick and precise overview in a hectic everyday world – something that also benefits the patients,” says Maria Maj Hansen.
Rosan Bosch Studio has also developed design solutions at the Heart Center by creating space for the daily routines of the staff as well as allowing patients to access to a quiet seating environment, where food and drinks are presented in an attractive and appetizing way.
“We design healthcare facilities on the basis of an analysis of workflows and use of the physical surroundings. In this way, the design boasts more than an aesthetical dimension – it makes a positive difference to the well-being of both the patients and the staff,” says Maria Maj Hansen.
The new design has created a number of differentiated types of spaces, which can accommodate changing user-needs throughout the daily routine. The new common room can accommodate up to 46 seated persons during larger meetings, and a partitioning wall has made it possible for the room to function as both a meeting room and a place for rest, combined. At the same time, niches now make it possible for employees to get a proper rest in between operations, while other employees attend departmental meetings.
In Esbjerg, Denmark, the extension and conversion of the city’s psychiatric hospital has been designed by the Danish architectural firm Arkitema Architects. The extension and conversion of Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital is based on the existing and classic orthogonal disposition of the buildings, while the structure of the new building mass reflects a clear, functional separation and hierarchical scheme between the functions.
The original main building and the more recently built extensions house the complex’s main corridor, which connects the new and existing wards on each side of the main building. In this way, the whole facility appears as a compact structure, linked by the main corridor that comprises activity and common areas.
This hospital has recently been praised for its positive effect on the number of physical restraints of patients, which has been reduced by almost 70% over the course of one year, according to statistics from the Region of Southern Denmark, which holds administrative responsibility for the hospital.
“We consider the significant drop in restraints as a huge success and one of the best documented examples on how physical surroundings contribute to recovery and great continuity of care,” says Carsten Jensen, Director of Arkitema Health.
There is much excitement at Esbjerg Psychiatric Hospital, where the staff believe that the positive drop in restraints is a combination of a series of actions and highlights the fact that the ward moved into new surroundings in 2015. The open and locked wards are now integrated, thus the staff can now more easily collaborate and make use of each other’s competencies.
“The distance from the shielded and open sections has been shortened for the patients. We can move them gradually if they start to feel worse, and patients no longer experience it as such a radical change, as previously, when moving from an open to a closed section,” says Anne-Grethe Borch Lauridsen, who is an operational manager at the psychiatric hospital.
In addition to the overall logistic solution, the integration of the building with the landscape architecture – the latter being designed by Arkitema Urban Design department – is a substantial part of the success in Esbjerg. All the rooms on the wards have a window facing a green area, and there are built-in courtyards in the wards so that the patients are very close to nature.