No matter if it’s a hospital, a doctor’s, or a dentist’s office, children and adults alike will experience some form of stress and anxiety during their visit to a medical environment. This once seemingly normal reaction to these sorts of appointments is quickly becoming a thing of the past. And good riddance too!
Not only has evidence-based design become a growing field for hospitals, but it is also being used in smaller pediatric health and dentistry practices. Our Art Consultants at Health Environment Art Services have worked with a number of healthcare facilities of all sizes including children-specific environments. Focuses on techniques for alleviating anxiety, fear, and phobias through positive interior support design and environmental distractions.
Theming Environments & positive reinforcement
Creating a themed environment for pediatric children, both the child and their parents are immediately comfortable and put at ease; therefore reducing their anxiety and improving medical outcomes. Creating a happy experience for visitors will help instill positive reinforcement for them so they can return again without the usual type of fear and anxiety that typically accompany medical visits.
Dr. Barbara Sheller, DDR, MDS, the Chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital explains that it is critical for a pediatric environment to provide warm, welcoming signals to reinforce patients and parents that they have come to the right place. The most important signals to soothe and satisfy social-emotional connections that influence childhood anxiety include bright, upbeat colors, kid-targeted activities in the waiting room, and the sincerity of staff at the practice (Sheller).
One example of a project HEAS has completed with Amita Health Alexian Brothers Women and Children’s Hospital in 2014. Commissioned through a donation from Claire’s Stores, Inc., the large-scale, kinetic sculpture in the hospital’s lobby is named “Bloom.” (See image left) The custom-designed, kid-friendly sculpture features flowerlike forms and includes a control dock at youngsters’ height to allow them to move the forms without touching them. The artists commissioned to create Bloom, Joe O’Connell, and Blessing Hancock, of Creative Machines Inc. in Tucson, Ariz., say they hope it will help young patients and visitors “find comfort and reassurance in the hospital setting.” The sculpture, they add, “celebrates the life and the impulse to enjoy it.”
Working within healthcare environments is something we take pride in. To see more children’s healthcare environments we have completed throughout the years please click here to view our portfolio.
Sheller, Barbara. “The Power of Positivity in Managing Pediatric Patient and Parent Behavior.” Dental Economics. N.p., 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 June 2016.