Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 34

IN FO C U S

RESEARCH

STRESS TEST

A post-occupancy evaluation at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's
new ICU provides a chance to study the impact of design on
sensory distress By Lesa N. Lorusso
34

DECEMBER 2020

HCDMAGAZINE.COM

UNFAMILIAR SIGHTS, sounds, and smells can have
a direct impact on human health and behavior, as explained in Cornell University professor Gary Evans' seminal book " Environmental
Stress. " A growing body of research examining
the effects of sensory stress reveals that when
sensory levels exceed a person's threshold, cortisol levels and nervous system activity become
elevated, which can cause the body to enter
fight-or-flight mode. If stress levels continue
to be elevated, a person can experience anxiety,
depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, as suggested by research
presented in the environmental health text
" Environmental Health: From Global to Local. "
Intensive care units (ICUs) often have high
levels of associated stress for patients and
staff. Traditionally, ICUs have been designed
in a radial layout with a central nurses' station
and surrounding patient rooms. While this
design strategy creates good patient visibility
for medical staff, it often sacrifices privacy and
sensory balance. Humans use their five senses
to experience an environment, and typical hospital sounds such as beeping equipment, noisy
supply carts, and loud conversations, combined
with visually cluttered patient rooms, strange
scents, and bright fluorescent lights, can cause
sensory overload and trigger physiological
reactions for everyone who experiences the
space. A research study on sleep in the ICU,
published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine in 2016, suggests that prolonged sensory
stress can impact the body's ability to heal and
may prolong hospital stays.
Beyond its impact on patients, the ICU environment can also adversely affect nurses and
staff, who can become overwhelmed by the
constant combination of surrounding sights,
sounds, and smells. Without a space within the
facility to adequately decompress, medical staff
can experience burnout and compassion fatigue.
In 2012, when Gresham Smith (Jacksonville, Fla.) began designing Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's (TMH) M.T. Mustian Center
in Tallahassee, Fla., a new critical care tower
to replace the hospital's decades-old ICU, the
project team focused on increasing capacity and integrating new technology. However,
most important was challenging the status

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Healthcare Design - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - December 2020

Healthcare Design - December 2020
Editorial
Showtalk
Winning Comb Inat Ion
Wise Words
Cultivating Innovation
Hcd Virtual Review
Research Stress Test
Product Spotlight Seating
The Center
Face Time
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Healthcare Design - December 2020
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 1
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 2
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 3
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 4
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 5
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 6
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 7
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 8
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Editorial
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Showtalk
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 11
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 12
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Winning Comb Inat Ion
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 14
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 15
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Wise Words
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 17
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 18
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 19
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Cultivating Innovation
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 21
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 22
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 23
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 24
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 25
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 26
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Hcd Virtual Review
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 28
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 29
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 30
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 31
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 32
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 33
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Research Stress Test
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 35
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Product Spotlight Seating
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 37
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - The Center
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 39
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - 40
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Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Face Time
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - December 2020 - Cover4
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