Physical characteristics of the indoor environment that affect health and wellbeing in healthcare facilities : a review
Salonen, Heidi & Morawska, Lidia (2013) Physical characteristics of the indoor environment that affect health and wellbeing in healthcare facilities : a review. Intelligent Buildings International, 5(1), pp. 3-25.
Understanding the physical characteristics of the indoor environment that affect human health and wellbeing is the key requirement underpinning the beneficial design of a healthcare facility (HCF). We reviewed and summarised physical factors of the indoor environment reported to affect human health and wellbeing in HCFs. Research materials included articles identified in a Pubmed search, guidelines, books, reports and monographs, as well as the bibliographies of review articles in the area studied. Of these, 209 publications were selected for this review. According to the literature, there is evidence that the following physical factors of the indoor environment affect the health and wellbeing of human beings in an HCF: safety, ventilation and HVAC systems, thermal environment, acoustic environment, interior layout and room type, windows (including daylight and views), nature and gardens, lighting, colour, floor covering, furniture and its placement, ergonomics, wayfinding, artworks and music. Some of these, in themselves, directly promote or hinder health and wellbeing, but the physical factors may also have numerous indirect impacts by influencing the behaviour, actions, and interactions of patients, their families and the staff members. The findings of this research enable a good understanding of the different physical factors of the indoor environment on health and wellbeing and provide a practical resource for those responsible for the design and operate the facilities as well as researchers investigating these factors. However, more studies are needed in order to inform the design of optimally beneficial indoor environments in HCFs for all user groups.
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