October 23, 2021

The Human Experience is Vital in Shaping Good Healthcare Design

Each facility is unique, but some factors related to patient, staff and family wellbeing consistently offer opportunities to optimize the healing environment.


High-quality design has a profound ability to affect our experience and perception of space. In addition to helping providers implement operational process improvements, overcome obstacles to patient satisfaction and develop staff accountability systems, Haskell seeks to shape the patient experience through thoughtful design.

And while each project is unique, Haskell’s Healthcare Design professionals have found that certain universal issues consistently provide opportunities for improvement.

Family-Centered Care

Research shows design that promotes staff-to-family communication in the patient room produces positive outcomes in reducing readmissions. Haskell’s family-centered designs encompass several concepts that provide a comfortable environment and social support, enabling families and friends to continuously care for their loved ones. They include:

  • Designing family sub-waiting/lounge spaces that provide stress relief for family members away from the patient bedside. These spaces also offer convenient and efficient consultation when it is advantageous to step away from the patient.
  • Changing the design of public/waiting spaces to create modular family areas, allowing for greater privacy.
  • Providing positive distractions through technology and furniture solutions that allow patients and family members flexibility and freedom for private work, social interactions or entertainment.
  • Dedicated staff and family zones within the patient room. Many clients request their inpatient room designs provide a family zone with a desk, sleeper sofa, technology access, ample electric and USB ports, and dimmable lighting. Staff can complete documentation at the patient’s bedside and simultaneously maintain a conversation with the patient family care provider.

Biophilic Design

As human, we have an inherent desire to align with our place in nature.

Studies have repeatedly shown the positive influence of natural light and views of nature on a patient’s ability to heal, control stress and reduce length of stay and/or perception of pain. Haskell’s integrated team of designers – architects, interior designers and engineers – develops spaces and aesthetics that satisfy that innate biophilic need.

Quality of Rest

Patients frequently suffer impaired immune function, ventilatory compromise, and disrupted thermos regulation. Studies show that these effects may hinder the healing process and contribute to increased morbidity and mortality.

The following environmental approaches have shown promising results in improving patient sleep:

Specifying wall treatments, ceiling and flooring materials that absorb noise

  • Sound absorbing panels at nurse stations
  • Noiseless paging systems
  • Subtle lighting for the nurse entering a room at night to maintain circadian rhythms
  • Examining everything that makes a sound – even hinges on closet doors

Cultural Change

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch

Often, improvements to the human experience require changes to operational process and the culture within a healthcare system. To achieve these goals, Haskell employs numerous tools that have been tested and refined nationwide.

Subject matter experts work closely with system management to achieve appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios, implement team staffing models and review physician zoning and staff-rounding procedures. They also evaluate the feasibility of support services, such as concierge programs.

In addition to patient satisfaction surveys, the use of benchmark data helps hospitals understand how they compare with in-market competition and out-of-market best-practices leaders. Our teams engage management and staff to support the value of patient satisfaction as a vital component of care.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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