Understanding healing environments: effects of physical environmental stimuli on patients' health and well-being

Karin Dijkstra

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The research in this dissertation contributes to the growing body of evidence that the physical healthcare environment can make a difference in how quickly patients recover or adapt to specific acute and chronic conditions. The concepts of healing environments and evidence-based design are widely used, but our critical appraisal of the existing research demonstrated that there is little, methodologically strong, evidence available. Moreover, there is little available evidence that demonstrates how these effects of the physical healthcare environment come about. A framework was developed to understand the effects of healthcare design. This framework is presented along with a large variety of studies (both lab and field studies) that underline the assumptions presented in the framework. These studies include interventions of music, nature, and colors. Effects of these interventions are studied in patient rooms, waiting rooms and counseling rooms. Understanding specific environmental stimuli and their effects on health and well-being may facilitate atmospheric changes in an environment. In addition, a clearer understanding of the exact mechanisms involved is desirable before efficiently implementing such designs on a larger scale. The current studies demonstrate that environmental factors that can be easily manipulated, that are relatively simple, and that are low-cost interventions may have a considerable impact on health-related outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Pruyn, Adriaan T.H., Supervisor
  • Pieterse, Marcel E., Supervisor
Award date6 Mar 2009
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-2795-8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2009


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