Time to put the right demands on healthcare interiors
Well-considered solutions lay the foundation for a better quality of life
Research, studies and practical experience have clearly shown that correctly designed physical environments improve the quality of life of people and have positive economic effects on health. The challenge is that this knowledge rarely reaches those designing new healthcare environments.
"Many projects are still founded on ideas and standards that were formulated in the 1980s and 90s, meaning that healthcare environments have not changed with the times. We often see that the wrong questions are asked when procuring interiors and furnishings. This needs to change. For example, a poorly planned dining area can feel unsafe, anti-social, noisy, exclusive and discriminating as well as a drain on resources. When well-considered, interiors and furnishings can change such a situation to result in an entirely different reality," says Johan Franzén, Kinnarps Next Care© Concept Manager.
Quality of life and total economy rewards
Kinnarps has substantial experience in the area and continuously collaborates with leading experts, researchers and healthcare staff, most recently with Gun Aremyr and Helle Wijk. Our high level of engagement is based on the knowledge that well-considered care environments that set the right requirements for function and design mean great gains in the quality of life and well-being of residents, staff and relatives.
These gains entail reducing the number of falling accidents and heavy lifting as well as subjective experiences of the environment that may improve health and reduce pain and stress. These health benefits also have financial advantages. The interiors and furnishings better withstand the test of time and they reduce the cost of elderly care and staff sick leave.
The time for change is now. In the coming years, there will be a rising need for healthcare, especially for elderly care facilities. For these care environments to be sustainable, interior design must be prioritised and planned early on in the project.
"The theory that the cheapest price today will be the highest cost in the future is particularly true in procuring these environments. We at Kinnarps have difficulty understanding how the quality of special accommodations can differ so greatly. They should be equal over the board so that everyone can live a dignified life," says Johan Franzén.
Make room for quality of life
To illustrate the current state of knowledge, Kinnarps has interviewed leading researchers and talked to healthcare staff about the importance of the physical environment in the "Make room for quality of life" campaign. Here, Kinnarps also gives examples of what it feels are ideal interior solutions for three specific healthcare environments – a main entrance, a dining area and a living area.
"In creating health-promoting care environments, it is vital to involve and gather knowledge from a range of stakeholders early on in the project. Before drawing up an interior design solution, the vision and goal of the operations must be established and challenges, opportunities and needs must be identified. For this purpose, we have developed the Next Care healthcare environment analysis, which offers a clear process guide for designing new healthcare environments. It is time to allow this new knowledge to determine the design of healthcare environments."
Kinnarps delivers interior design solutions for offices, schools and healthcare facilities. The entire value chain is characterised by high quality and low environmental impact – from raw materials to finished solutions. Kinnarps is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of interior design solutions with operations in 40 countries and a Group turnover of more than SEK 4.2 billion. Kinnarps was founded in 1942 by Jarl and Evy Andersson. It remains a wholly-owned family business.
ABOUT THE KINNARPS NEXT CONCEPT
NEXT OFFICE®, NEXT EDUCATION® AND NEXT CARE® are Kinnarps' concepts for developing work environments in offices, schools and healthcare facilities that are tailored to operations. This means mapping and analysing the business, involving the management team and employees in the change process and, with this knowledge as a base, creating customised work environments.