Nature, wood, and other organic items can help in healing and patient care.
For most of human history, a connection to nature was a given, with our daily lives intimately tied to the cycles of the sun, the seasons, and the natural world around us. It’s only recently that we began to earn a living, go shopping, enjoy endless entertainment, and even socialize without ever leaving home. While it is convenient, this separation from the great outdoors may be taking a toll on our health.
As a result, it's not surprising that architects are increasingly searching for methods to incorporate more natural materials and a link to nature into buildings.The goal behind biophilic design is to make extensive use of sunshine, vistas and greenery, fresh air, and exposed wood to produce a warm, inviting look that improves health.This notion is becoming more popular in health-care settings.
Wood may play an essential part in biophilic design as a building material, whether as structural components or interior treatments.
Dr. David Fell is a British Columbia researcher who has investigated the benefits of introducing wood into architectural design and is the co-author of a paper on how wood may be a restorative material in health care environments.
"The psycho-physiological reactions of humans to wood are based on two major systems of stress response, namely the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system," he adds. One study on the autonomic nervous system's reaction to wood found lower levels of blood pressure and heart rate in an environment where wood is present than one where it is not."
Cortisol is the key stress hormone that we are concerned with. Cortisol levels were lower in persons who had visual contact with wood in an indoor test setting in two different experiments.
Long-term care is given new life by a century-old construction material.
The world's population is aging and living longer lives. To keep up with a rapidly aging population, the demand for assisted living facilities is steadily increasing. The number of persons over the age of 65 is expected to more than quadruple by 2050, reaching nearly 2 billion. In British Columbia, the senior population is expected to steadily grow to about 25% of all citizens. People are living healthy, full lives well into their 80s and beyond, thanks to advances in science and medical treatment.
Wooden building can encourage healthy aging. It is well-suited to address the requirement for adaptable, flexible, and high-quality facilities that can handle a wide range of assisted living needs in a cost-effective manner. Residents are more satisfied with interiors that incorporate visible and exposed wood.
Such is the case with Gateway Lodge Long-term Care in Prince George—the institution provides 94 complicated care beds utilizing a decentralized model that organizes small clusters of 14 to 20 individuals into linear 'home zones'. The residential rooms feature views of the internal gardens and courtyards of the property. Natural ventilation, garden access, and plenty of windows provide plenty of sunlight, views, and fresh air.