Conference Paper

Lying architecture: Experiencing space from a hospital bed

Conference: WELL-BEING 2011: The First International Conference Exploring the Multi-dimensions of Well-being


Patients experience a hospital from a particular perspective—lying in a hospital bed—which is highly under researched. To gain a better understanding of the spatial experience from this perspective, we combined a literature review with exploratory fieldwork and in-depth interviews with various stakeholders. Through qualitative data analyses, three major themes were identified that characterize this perspective: a hospital bed is a material object; it has a social dimension; and it is used to move a patient through the building. The combination of these three aspects suggests that the perspective of lying in a hospital bed, with its implications for social interaction and movement, may give important new insights in how hospital buildings could be designed.

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Available from: Ann Heylighen
    • "Then the coded excerpts were assigned on a map to specific places along the route. However, as we know from literature and earlier research, sensory experience does not entirely cover patients' experience of a hospital building (Annemans et al., 2011, 2014; Pols & Moser, 2009; Watts & Urry, 2008). Therefore we coded the transcripts also according to aspects that impact experience. "
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    ABSTRACT: For in-patients who spend a longer time in the hospital, the built environment plays a significant role in their experience. While many hospital boards aim to create a patient-centred hospital, few have a specific idea about what this means in terms of spatial qualities. This creates a major challenge for those involved in designing hospital environments. Therefore we aimed to identify which elements play a role in in-patients' spatial experience, and how these elements relate and interact. Patients were followed during transport and afterwards interviewed. In this way we gained insight into their spatial experience, static and in motion. This experience turns out to be shaped by material, social, and time-related aspects. An analysis of the interactions between these aspects yields a nuanced understanding of how in-patients’ experience of the hospital environment is shaped by the spatial and social organization, movement, and perspective. This understanding should allow informing hospital boards, architects, and staff to start designing hospital buildings in a more patient-centred way.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Space and Culture
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    • "In the first months of our research we conducted interviews with various actors in the field (medical staff, patients, technical directors of hospitals, hospital architects) to obtain a profound understanding of the meaning of the bed in the hospital (Annemans et al. 2011). Each interviewee sheds light on the topic from his/her specific perspective. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite many efforts by healthcare providers, for most people a hospital stay is rarely a pleasant experience. The hospital building as such is part of this perception. Moreover, the specific situation of a hospital stay is largely determined by the material reality of the organisation. Studies on hospital environments tend to single out one particular aspect, e.g. the view through the window, or presence of green (Ulrich 1984a, 1984b) and try to prove its clinical outcome. Yet they fail to translate their results to the design of real-life settings (Rubin et al., 1998, Cbz 2008). Moreover, the influence of patients’ peculiar perspective, i.e. lying in a hospital bed, on the way they experience the reality of the hospital is largely under researched.
    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2012

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