Healing and safe environment-Part 1

Leading architects speak about their role in creating healing and safe environment

Nandini Bazaz, HOSMAC India, Disabled, Healthcare planning, RJB Architects, Healthcare Architects, Psychosomatic, Arun Nalapat, Arun Nalapat Architects, HVAC, MVR Cancer Center, Cancer patient

Nandini Bazaz
Director, Architectural Services
HOSMAC India Pvt. Ltd
Practicing healthcare architecture is of profound value to society in ways of serving humanity, opportunities for the trained, enhancement of the skilled, easing the ill and coming together of the abled and disabled! This typology of architecture starts with engineers and architects who are sympathetic to what is to be planned, where, how, through the eyes of patient, with compassion for the invalid, with the knowledge of basics in planning spaces to treat patients.  The different strata of planning a hospital involve multi-disciplinary (read expertise) teams coming together to build a safe place where one looks forward to heal.

The role of a healthcare architect is to enable this collaboration between stake holders, engineers, municipal architects, licensing authorities, statutory body clearances, project architects, interior designers, electromechanical engineers, structural engineers, draftsmen, landscape architects, kitchen laundry consultants, equipment consultants, contractors, and also facility management consultants.  The healthcare architect is a rare breed whose primary objective is of course to create a healing and safe environment which in itself entails empathy towards humanity.

Kunal Bhattacharya
Director, Healthcare planning and design
RJB Architects
Healthcare Architects create the instrument for healthcare delivery; therefore, they have the opportunity for indirectly affecting the clinical outcome of a patient. It is important for architects to understand this which will help them be more responsible in designing.

Safety of patients can reduce unnecessarily long stay in hospitals, save them from acquiring new infections from the hospital and even save them from fatal results. Safety for the caregiver, even though it is primarily a function of systems and processes, can also be improved to some extent by design.

Designing for safety is not too difficult if one clearly understands how different clinical and non-clinical processes are carried out in a hospital and their associated hazards with various affected groups. Without such clarity designing could be groping in the dark.

Creating healing environment, however, is not as simple as safe design. It is a delicate cocktail of building engineering, human psychology with complex psychosomatic triggers and the art of designing - a concoction that can easily vitiate environment due to ignorant oversimplification.

Arun Nalapat
Founder Principal
Arun Nalapat Architects
Architecture is a powerful psychological trigger, and a good healthcare architect would employ the tools of architecture – including the age old allies like the sun, wind and light -to create hopeful and optimistic spaces, that studies have proven aid in the healing process.

Proper healthcare planning and architecture plays a vital role in the creation of healing spaces and safe environments in healthcare facilities. The staggering percentage of nosocomial or hospital acquired infections in India is evidence of the dearth of such environments in the Indian landscape.
Apart from the HVAC system, which is crucial, Interior detailing and the choice of materials used within the premises play a critical role in minimizing the surfaces susceptible to the breeding and transmission of infections.

An example would be chemotherapy wards in the MVR Cancer Center, where we made sure these have expansive views, and allow light to enter the rooms unhindered. The architecture imbibes a sense of hopefulness which counters the despondency of a cancer patient.