Interior Design Use in Alleviating Depression and Anxiety

October 11, 2012
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The family lobby of the dialysis center follows ADA guidelines provides natural conversation groups with space for wheelchairs among stationary seating. Photography by Red Bearon Photography, 2012 Because patients suffering may find emotional triggers in artwork displaying human forms or religious tokens, treescapes were chosen for the dialysis center, connoting growth and stability. Photo credit: Red Bearon Photography, 2012. A radial nurses’ station in the center of the largest treatment bay allows for direct eye contact with every patient. Photo credit: Red Bearon Photography, 2012. Staff spaces include reclining seating to soothe swollen feet. Photo credit: Red Bearon Photography, 2012. The neutral tones of the walls, ceiling, and flooring are offset by floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the dialysis center. Photo credit: Red Bearon Photography, 2012. The design intent of the facility was to incorporate the chakra colors of orange, yellow, and green by incorporating tones reminding visitors of the high-mountain Utah landscape. Photo credit: Red Bearon Photography, 2012.
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At the former dialysis center for Logan Regional Hospital in Logan, Utah, I saw patients attached to blood cleansing machines for hours, something they had to do two to three times a week for the rest of their lives, or until they received an organ transplant.

Everyone seemed exhausted. Family members and friends would usher the patients to and from treatments, all relegated to a waiting space consisting of two cramped rooms, white walls, humming machines, and cold, fluorescent lighting. Years of dialysis treatment resulted in strong feelings of depression and anxiety for patients, their family and friends, and department staff.

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Design problems
Located on the third floor of the hospital, the department had become inconvenient for dialysis patients with declining mobility and for their families. It was cramped. It had no color, no pattern, no visual rhythm. Just large blue chairs, several machines, and two nurses’ desks piled with stacks of papers. The staff was concerned about the lack of privacy during one-on-one consultations when patients requested to remain seated in the treatment bay.

Medical codes restricted any accessories to prevent blood contamination. A 7-foot-minimum radial clearance around each patient to allow staff total access to the patient and equipment also prevented decorative furnishings or accessories.

Due to a high prevalence of physical limitations at the center, it was imperative that all rooms and furnishings meet ADA guidelines and bariatric requirements. Quite simply, the department needed a new building that would allow adequate space to function efficiently, as well as aesthetics proven to elevate symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Solution: room to breathe
A previous doctor suite was selected as the site for the new facility. This one-story clinic has a private parking lot and bus stop, as well as a spacious layout to meet medical and design codes, and ADA requirements. The floor plan includes a radial nurses’ station n the center of the largest treatment bay, which allows for direct eye contact with every patient.

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