The importance of the built environment in healthcare settings became exceedingly clear as healthcare facilities relied on isolation in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. At the 2022 HCD Healthcare Design Expo & Conference, RLF design professionals Steven Langston, Miriam Ganesh and Cindy Elkin conducted an interactive roundtable discussion that addressed the detrimental effects of isolation on pandemic patients, family members and caregivers.
To encourage participants to think about how to design for a future pandemic while retaining the benefits of human contact and interaction, the RLF team discussed issues caused by isolation in care and introduced potential solutions and innovations that could be used with proven guiding principles to bring humanity to specific spaces within a hospital setting — including patient rooms, nursing stations, care units, emergency departments and respite/restorative spaces. Participants were then divided into groups and asked to apply those ideas and the elements that were important to them to a quick design solution for one of those spaces.
For the RLF team, generating awareness about these issues is the essential first step in ensuring that design solutions are created to preserve the human contact, caring and nurturing that are critical to the healing process as we prepare our communities for the pandemics of the future.