I saw an article the other day, "How Much Should Be Spent Beautifying Hospitals.” The article talks about the limited resources available for hospital design and construction, but yet hospitals continue to pour money into ensuring a hotel or spa-like venue. Such amenities in hospitals are not usually found outside of the U.S. unless they are privately developed. Recently, we had a team of Chinese students visit our hospital and they were amazed at what they saw. Since we opened three plus years ago, we have had a number of international visitors and to a person they said that our hospital was nicer than most of the hotels in their countries.
When we designed our hospital a lot of thought went into the attention to detail. First and foremost, we wanted it to be welcoming as a healing environment without being ostentatious. Our architects and interior designers went to great lengths to capture the essence of our region with the lighting, the earth tone colors throughout the facility, the spaciousness of the interiors and the quality of local art. Our design also focused on state-of-the-art safety and infection control measures, along with ease of access and egress. To this day, the exterior as well as the interior remain safe, beautiful and very well maintained. Most importantly, they enhance the healing environment.
Another aspect of providing a healing environment occurred a little over a week ago while I was in the hospital doing rounds. I stopped to listen to our volunteer Dion play the donated baby grand piano. I was watching and listening from the second floor area that overlooks the lobby. I was amazed at the number of people who walked by smiling--patients, visitors and employees, it didn't matter. Some stopped to listen; some kept on walking, but to a person, everyone was smiling as they listened.
Giving folks that calming, feel good environment certainly is an objective that we set out to accomplish when the hospital was being planned. The environment that we created hopefully allows patients to transcend their illness for a period of time. What we have done through design and amenities, along with other U.S. hospitals, should be looked at as an added bonus toward the healing process.