In a thought-provoking Webinar, "Evidence-Based Design and the New Five Senses," presented on November 3, 2011, by Vendome, HEALTHCARE DESIGN, and sponsored by IIDA, Linda Porter Bishop, IIDA, ASID, AAHID, LEED AP, outlined her thoughts on how both the biological and psycholgical components of a person work together to heal the body in the healthcare environment, as well as how the design of those environments influences both. Though the material was rather deep and dense at times, the overall message resounded clearly: the mind and the body are both active in the healing process, and to ignore one or the other is a mistake.

Bishop outlined the idea that healthcare facilities need to become "Level 3" environments--meaning they need to be places where the focus is on restoration of the self and the whole person via a base of biology, environmental design, and psychology. This concept goes beyond the now-established "healing environment" concept to the next level of care; they need to engage her "new five senses":

•  A Sense of Place
•  A Sense of Life
•  A Sense of Compassion
•  A Sense of Community
•  A Sense of Security

The question then becomes: how close are we to achieving such environments? How can they be achieved without a total reinvention of the system? Bishop rightfully points out that the change must start with people and their attitudes toward the healthcare environment, and that training staff to engage these new five senses is an affordable first step toward the changes that need to be made. It all seems reasonable enough, but given all the other issues going on in healthcare today, will it happen any time soon?

Time will tell, of course, but for now, Bishop has provided an intriguing possibile future that may just be the next big movement in healthcare design. Stay tuned.

View the entire archived Webinar free of charge here: