Psychology News – A study reveals how using nature, windows, and gardens in hospitals makes wayfinding through hospitals easy. It has also suggested “green hospital” designs, which reduce stress and support recovery in both hospital visitors and caregivers.
A study reveals how institutional environments with greenery can reduce stress in visitors, patients, and healthcare providers.
The researchers at West Virginia University used immersive virtual reality to explore the link between greenery, hospital architecture, wayfinding methods, and the psychological impact of such navigation.
In the experiment, all the participants were shown a hospital layout and room arrangements. But, one group saw large windows and views of nature among the corridor walls. The other group saw solid walls without any daylight or nature-views. They were then asked to complete various wayfinding tasks. The participants’ moods were also monitored.
The findings, published in Health Environments Research and Design Journal, revealed that the greenspace group used shorter time and distance to complete wayfinding tasks. In contrast to the other group, this group reported relief and lesser feelings of anger and confusion about navigating hospital spaces.
The Center for Health Design has cited wayfinding issues as an environmental stressor and a concerning topic in healthcare design. Coupled with personal hospital-related experiences, this has inspired the study’s lead author, Shan Jiang, to harness nature’s therapeutic effects in healthcare spaces.
Nature must be incorporated in large, confusing, and visually bland hospital complexes. The study suggests that greenspaces must be used in key decision points in hospitals, such as the main corridor, entrance, or junction of departments. It also recommends using large windows and transparent spaces to strengthen people-nature interactions in such spaces.
This can improve navigational experiences of the visitors and also calm their already stressed mental states. Jiang explains, “Nature and plants are positive distractions that could restore people’s attentional fatigue [in medical complexes].”
The study also applauds the “green hospitals” functioning across Europe and the US.
To Know More You May Relate To
Jiang, S., Allison, D., & Duchowski, A. T. (2022). Hospital Greenspaces and the Impacts on Wayfinding and Spatial Experience: An Explorative Experiment Through Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Techniques. HERD, 19375867211067539. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/19375867211067539