Hospital environments could influence patient recovery

Published on March 15, 2012 at 6:09 AM · No Comments

Hospital environments including sounds, pictures, aromas, air quality, and layout could influence patient recovery according to new research conducted by Cochrane authors and released in The Cochrane Library.

The authors completed a Cochrane Review (the highest quality of systematic reviews and considered the gold standard by the health research community) to help people involved in hospital environment design make decisions that will benefit patients' health. Hospital environments have recently received renewed interest, with considerable investments into building and renovating healthcare estates. Understanding the effectiveness of environmental interventions is important for resource utilization and providing quality care.

Dr. Amy Drahota, from the University of Portsmouth (UK), member of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group and lead author of the review, says, "Although it may seem obvious that the area in which a patient recovers will affect his or her healing, we need research evidence to help guide all the decisions in hospital design.

"This review is gigantic, including 102 studies and 38 meta-analyses, a statistical test which combines the results of individual studies, with the largest single meta-analysis bringing together the results of 29 studies," adds Drahota. "This is really a lot of information considering many systematic reviews include an average of six analyses with three studies per analysis. However, 85 of our included studies related to the use of music in hospital. We were also interested in finding studies on all aspects of hospital environment design, but many areas have not had high-quality research studies. For example, we only found one study that met our criteria for lighting, one study that met our criteria for decoration, and we didn't find any studies of high enough quality which looked at the use of art, or way-finding aids. And we even have some reservations about the studies we did find because their quality is not as good as it could be. So, despite the large volume of information included in this review, we're calling for more high-quality studies looking at the different components of hospital design in order to make better informed decisions on how to design or refurbish our hospitals in the future."

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