ASID: Person-Place Congruency and Well-Being
The healthcare environment sometimes becomes a place for residency. Whether it is just for a brief tenure, or to fulfill long-term needs, the healthcare environment can become much more than just a place for healing—it can develop into a home.
In the residential environment, mood is linked to how an inhabitant perceives the aesthetics of their space. Positive mood correlates to a perceived beautiful space, and negative mood associates with a perceived ugly or average space.
So, you are probably now thinking to yourself, well that’s easy to accomplish. We already strive to make our healthcare environments aesthetically pleasing—in addition to functional and safe—and that should then result in positive patient mood and, therefore, positive patient well-being. But, the problem here is not whether the space is beautiful. The problem is, does each individual patient perceive the space to be beautiful?
So now what? Let’s look at personality-place congruency.
Individuals have specific environmental preferences, and the more congruency that occurs between personality and place, the better it is for an individual’s well-being. When extended the opportunity, people will choose to inhabit an environment that they perceive best represents their personality or one that may provide them the best fit for their current emotional state.
In a place like a healthcare environment, where most often patients don’t have the luxury of choosing their space, personality-place incongruence can happen, and the outcome can negatively influence an individual’s emotional and physical well-being.
So there is the answer: We give patients the option to personalize their individual space into what they perceive to be beautiful. By giving patients the opportunity to personalize, we give them the chance to alter their environment to fit their personality, to create personality-place congruency, and to improve their own well-being (and hopefully, their overall healthcare experience, too).
Beyond the mementos, cards, and flowers, do we offer ample opportunity for patients—both short-term and long-term—to personalize their space?