Home Healthcare Designed for both behavioral health and medical illnesses

Designed for both behavioral health and medical illnesses


In the United States, an estimated 68% of adults with a mental illness have at least one concurrent condition and 29% of those with a mental health disorder have a behavioral health disorder, according to 2011 health policy. brief by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. With people’s access to services generally limited by availability, financial constraints or stigma, these totals may be underestimated.

This medical and behavioral health associated disease, which is the co-presence of two or more diseases including mental health and medical condition, can be causally, environmental risk factors school or even by randomness. A 2008 report inside American Medical Journal Dr. Wayne Katon mentioned the comorbidities of type 2 diabetes and depression, pointing out that each can affect another.

For example, depression has a direct negative effect on glucose metabolism and can increase insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Likewise, the need for ongoing diabetes care. A person’s type 2, including monitoring symptoms and maintaining diet and exercise, can lead to a state of depression.

For many people, medical and behavioral health comorbidities are not a single episode, but a lifelong pain. As people live longer and the stigma on mental health diminishes, only more cases of patients seek mental health care with an underlying medical condition, or vice versa.

Successful healthcare organizations will be holistic human health care organizations with facilities designed to support patients, their families and their staff, while also taking care of their they serve. For example, the space for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular health may be different than the space for a family with a problematic autistic child. Eating. While some people with PTSD may benefit from calming spaces with cool colors and natural ambient sounds, people with less sensitive autism may prefer bright colors and strange noises. .

Given the diverse patient population and possible conditions, the best chance to design wellness is to create a safe space for as many people as possible. This begins with understanding and minimizing the potential risks of the population and preparing the environment for the best level of care with flexibility and adaptation. It also includes addressing the needs of employees so they can protect their own health, safety and well-being as they care for others.

In an inpatient setting, dedicated units that take care of people in need of the highest degree of medical care – known as mental-health units (MPUs) – ensure that mental care of Patients are not delayed while their acute medical needs are being treated. These facilities are designed to resemble behavioral health units with solder-resistant fixtures and tamper-proof finishes. Unlike conventional medical units, they also treat programmable spaces such as team rooms and areas where staff and patients interact and have staff with specialized clinicians or multidisciplinary teams. Medical and psychiatric providers can provide care that is right for each patient.

For both inpatient and outpatient facilities, implementing joint design strategies, such as access to fresh air, vision, and daylight, can benefit many. These architectural components, including skylights, windows or doors, can be detailed and constructed in a way to prevent patient concealment or reduce the risk of grafting or escaping. dangerous but still beneficial to the occupants.

Additional strategies include the use of on-stage / off-stage profiles that conceal support functions from the patient, which can help reduce patient anxiety or distress and protect the patient. tablets. However, it should be noted that this solution can also increase the common area of ​​one unit. Navigation symbols instead of words can help people with dyslexia as well as those with language barriers, and become part of an organization’s graphic branding.

Organizations have an incentive to address mental health comorbidities in the continuum of care because it has a direct impact on their business performance. One year 2020 report from the Center for Medical Information and Analysis, it showed that the duration of inpatient treatment of this group was on average a day and a half longer and the recurrence rate was almost twice as high as that of those without the health diagnosed behavior. The rate of children is three times higher.

The successful design of medical and behavioral health diseases moves towards culturally human space in a way that respects the dignity of each person seeking care. As designers, we can help by advocating humanistic design, enhancing safety and helping improve mental health while creating beautiful and thoughtful spaces.

Jenny Cestnik, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, NCARB, are one Medical planner, designer and architect at ZGF Architects (Portland, Oregon). Her can be reached at [email protected].

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