Better by Design: Hospital architecture can help patients heal


When an architect plans a new hospital, she’s doing more than designing rooms in which doctors meet sick patients and work to make them well. She’s designing a space through which the people, materials, and ideas that drive health care will flow, one that can help patients regain health as it helps maintain the well-being of staff and community alike. Achieving this balance starts with conversations that focus on details and involve caregivers, designers, and patients.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.