Have you ever heard of the term precision cancer care?
Well, to be more precise, it is a novel therapeutic mechanism that aims to map disease mutations with available treatments, so as to provide customized and patient-centered treatments for cancer patients. This simply means that cancer treatment, unlike other treatments, has become more individualized and standardized, given the need for long-term care.
“Design is not what it looks like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
Cancer is a devastating disease, for both patients and their families. Advancements in medical science have contributed to lower mortality rates – thereby resulting in more number of patients undergoing follow-up studies and care – indicating the need for more number of specialty care clinics for cancer.
Cancer care includes diagnosis, treatment (both inpatient and outpatient), care and follow-up studies. These are considered as the functional healthcare requirements in a cancer diagnosis & treatment center. However, state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatment and care have not proven 100% successful in treating cancer to the core. Hence, treatment being a primary need for every disease, interior design of the care clinics has also become an essential aspect of a successful treatment regimen.
Unlike other healthcare facilities, designing cancer care clinics demands for a wider scope of design considerations. In order to successfully create an effective and responsive cancer facility, healthcare interior designers pay closer attention to the needs of patients and hospital staff, as well as the visitors.
According to Healthcare Design Magazine, answers to the following questions should be an important part of the design process:
- What makes the cancer patient unique?
- What makes cancer care distinctive?
- What are the needs of specially trained caregivers?
- How can the physical environment support the needs of patients, caregivers, and family members?
- How can the design support the focused efforts for both cancer treatment and disease prevention?
- How can we incorporate the latest technologies, new medicines and advanced research, and specialty treatment?
Four Essential Design Considerations for Cancer Care Clinics:
Create Empathetic and Healing Atmosphere: No two cancer patients have gone through a similar journey in terms of diagnosis, treatment and care. Hence, designers are required to understand patients’ emotional and physical pain – to convert the environments, especially the patient rooms, into responsive, spacious and empathetic interiors.
Provide Privacy for Patients: Given that cancer treatment extends to months, and years together, it is so humanly that patients expect support from friends, family, caregivers and hospital staff. However, there is a thin line between external support and conscious effort. Creating an atmosphere of solace and solitude – using internal gardens, natural lighting, outside views and other design elements – greatly contributes to the recovery and healing process of the patients.
Understanding Physical Needs of the Cancer Patient: During the course of treatment, patients observe drastic changes in their physical attributes – be it hair loss, scars or any other changes in appearance. Hence, lack of privacy in examination rooms, procedure rooms or patient rooms – can lead to embarrassment and discomfort for the patients.
Cancer burden – both in terms of health and wealth – can devastate as well as de-spirit patients and their family to a great extent. Hence, interior design in cancer care clinics must be a proper blend of compassion, empathy, positivity – using a holistic and sustainable approach.
Prevent Infections: Cancer patients are more prone to infections – due to several reasons that include frequent trips to the washroom as well as ongoing treatment and medication. Hence, it is essential to install more number of disinfectant stations and hand-washing sinks across all areas of the clinic.
Warm colors and inviting atmosphere in consultation rooms, waiting rooms, examination rooms and patient rooms, rather than plain and sad designs, can create a home-like environment for patients. It is also essential to include wellness areas for yoga and meditation; and library rooms for peaceful reading, especially for patients undergoing follow-up treatment.