08 Apr Seeking respite despite illness
To kickstart our 2020 blogs, we would like to do a series of posts about sustainability in healthcare facilities as a way to continue promoting building sustainability even from our own homes.
Many of our healthcare facilities are rapidly filling up with patients due to the coronavirus pandemic. This can cause stress to not only the sick but also to the frontliners that keep both hospital operations as well as human lives intact. In creating sustainable healthcare design, it is essential to keep in mind both the physical and mental well-being of people.
Integrating a respite within the hospital would prove beneficial to patients and staff through providing access to the natural environment. In this context, a respite is an area that can give a person relief from difficulties he/she is experiencing. By providing direct access to nature, health benefits such as reducing anxieties and increasing positive feelings can be obtained. Places of respite must be within reach wherein no medical intervention is delivered, whether via courtyard, greenhouse, or outdoors. Ideally, the area should be designed with optimal shading and ample natural ventilation, while providing unobstructed views of greenery.
It is important to allocate enough space per person in these respite areas. A minimum of 0.5 square meters per person can be used as reference, though considering the physical distancing measures needed during this time, a set distance of at least 2 meters between persons should be followed. Of course, these areas should be located far from smoking zones, building exhaust air locations, as well as loading docks. Aside from looking at nature, activities such as horticulture therapy and universal-access natural trails can also be included to help people relax and find relief.
During these trying times, finding moments of calmness and rest is an essential need. Hope everyone can find respite in the middle of our current situation.