In recent years, the medical profession has made tremendous strides treating a
variety of illnesses and ailments. But, perhaps, the biggest change that patients
and other visitors to healthcare facilities may have noticed is that—thanks
to a growing body of evidence documenting positive physiological responses to
stimuli, such as natural light, color, and connections to nature—hospitals
and other healthcare facilities are changing. Disappearing are our old notions
of unwelcoming beige and white-painted clinical environments without
windows. In their place is a new generation of facilities that takes interior
design into account.
Some of these new-generation facilities are state-of-the-art, multimillion
dollar treatment centers that are reinventing how caregivers and patients
interact. But sometimes, even a thoughtful use of paint can make a
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR
Take the Su Casa residential treatment facility at New York’s Lower Eastside
Service Center, which three years ago was desperately in need of a facelift.
The space, which houses pregnant women with opioid addictions for up to a
year at a time, was a shabby configuration of beige-painted rooms and shared
spaces that its occupants, despite their thankfulness for the treatments
themselves, didn’t seem to respect. “We found the women were not taking
care of their rooms, which were pretty dirty,” recalls Peter Santoro, a vice
president at the Lower Eastside Service Center.
Today’s healthcare settings are no longer seas of beige.
From color to natural light to human connections, vibrant
environments are being enlisted in healing.
BY BRIAN LIBBY