In healthcare design, ideas regarding access to nature, single-patient rooms, and the union of safety and beauty are commonly exchanged. However, some of those very basic functions may at times be lost in psychiatric treatment facilities.

During the session “How Architecture can Reduce Stigmatization and Improve Psychiatric Care Outcomes” at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10, Stefan Lundin, architect with White arkitekter AB, discussed a project in which a state-of-the-art psychiatric facility was created in Sweden.

The goals set included creating dignity, normality, safety and beauty, an open atmosphere, access to nature, and small units within care units. Instead of keeping psychiatric patients in a separate facility, the new project strove to eliminate isolation.

The interior design of the project includes warm tones, natural materials, plentiful views into the garden, and bright, light-filled rooms.

The result since its open in 2007 has been an uptick in the average number of days patients remain in the treatment facility as they became more reluctant to be discharged. Additionally, the presentation showed fewer instances of compulsory injections needing to be used and fewer times patients had to be restrained.

Finally, first-hand evidence also supported that the aesthetic changes had significant effects on patients, and that insight came from staff members of the facility. Of them, 75-80% reported that they believed the new building had a positive influence on patients, while at the same time, the number of incidences involving threats and violence from patients toward staff also decreased.