Sense of home in the hospital patient room atmosphere

10:00, Thursday 6 May 2021 (30 minutes)

“Homeliness” is a measure of psychological comfort, intended to reassure the patient that they are receiving the same care and attention they would if they were being treated at home, rather than being “institutionalized.” The hospital should always look like a home rather than a clinic, so “the patient will express his gratitude to the doctors and nurses, and to the architect too, who has thought about him as a human being,” in the words of one authority . The main goal of each hospital is curing the patients and the main objective of the hospital designers is facilitating the process of healing for the patients. However, both have focused mostly on visual aspects and the importance of other human senses seems to be neglected.

Hospital food is notoriously unsavoury. Odours are musty or antiseptic. The acoustic world of the hospital is populated by the chatter of staff, the bustling of trolleys, the white noise of the ventilation system, and an assortment of electronic sounds given off by diverse monitors. Tactile contact is often perfunctory, outside of the context of physical therapy. Hospital clothing is neutral-coloured and shapeless. What then can be done to transform senses from sources of malaise into instruments of healing, to make the patient feel “at home”? This presentation surveys a range of ingenious solutions.

concordia university