Designing for wellbeing: realising benefits for patients through best practice hospital design

By the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

The design of healthcare facilities affects the wellbeing of patients and their families. Architects are rethinking buildings in way that alleviates anxiety and stress and that improves health outcomes.

The technology

Led by Professor Julie Willis, this project aims to evaluate, prioritise and strategise the best means for realising those aspects of environmental design that contribute to positive outcomes for patients and families. This project builds upon Australia’s international leadership in contemporary hospital design.

The partnership

Funded by a three-year Linkage grant, the project entails a comprehensive case study analysis of new Australian paediatric hospitals, including the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne) and the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (Brisbane).

A key partnership in the project is with Lyons Architecture. Corbett Lyon, Director of Lyons in Melbourne, has said, ‘Lyons is delighted to be collaborating with the University of Melbourne on this internationally significant research project. The benefits of combining industry knowledge with the research capabilities and resources of one of the world's leading Universities will, we have no doubt, deliver outcomes which will have ready and wide application to future hospital design worldwide.’

The outcome

The project’s research will lead to an integrated understanding of design and environmental factors and their relative importance in promoting patient health and wellbeing. The project aims to develop translational design strategies and evaluative methods to best realise future healthcare environments that make a distinct and positive contribution to the wellbeing of patients, visitors and staff; create working forums to convey research findings to various government, healthcare and design agencies; and raise recognition for the role and profile of design and the built environment in achieving best practice in healthcare environments.