Sleep as a Moderating Value in Healthcare Facility Design

December 5, 2012


Background: Healthcare design is produced by large design teams with vital input from clients and expert consultants. Throughout the design process, choices are made based on evaluations by all parties; however, some of these evaluations cannot be reduced to a common metric. Many complex interactions defy objective evaluation. It is proposed that jointly agreed-on values can be deployed as moderators in subjective evaluations, allowing design teams to work together more harmoniously.

Object: Design evidence base for one use-value: sleep. A literature review considers the evidence currently found regarding the value of sleep for hospital inpatients and the actual quality of inpatient sleep. Intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for shortened or poor sleep are reviewed, with an emphasis on environmental considerations. There are many manners in which designers and caregivers are aware that good sleeping conditions can be provided; therefore it is by choice, albeit unwittingly, that poor sleeping conditions have arisen.

Conclusion: The value of sleep to hospital inpatients is very high, even in the short term. Inpatients' sleep is currently not as good as it could or should be. Conflicting views, varied constraints, and requirements might be harmonized and give way to successful innovation if design teams and project stakeholders adopt moderating values as a guide for design evaluations.

Key Words: Healthcare design, sleep, therapeutic design, evidence-based design, design values, design methodology, design expertise, environment, behavior

Preferred Citation: Kennedy, M. R. C. (2012). Sleep as a moderating value in healthcare design. Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 6(1), 123-143.12123-.


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