Psychology of colors in pediatric healthcare spaces

The science of understanding the healing powers of colors, and patients’ response towards different shades of colors is called chromatherapy or colorology. Although the theory is accepted as a pseudoscience, it is not an exaggeration when we say that colors can re-energize the unhealthy cells, in addition to creating a cheerful & comfortable environment for patients.

No wonder nature is filled with so many colors. Anything that is natural not only provides a visual feast but also creates a restorative environment everywhere including healthcare spaces. Healthcare interior designers are greatly inspired by the various colors that surround us, and this has provided a basis for a wide range of design ideas, focusing on one major aspect – a positive influence in patients’ recovery process.

According to The New York Times, “Baths of blue light have replaced blood transfusions as the standard treatment for premature babies born with potentially fatal neonatal jaundice. Further, many hospitals have added gold lamps to soothe their nursing staff who are naturally irritated by the blue light present in these wards.”

As per a website called Color Connections, different colors come with a set of psychological properties that aid in healing. While red is used to care for people with anemia, fatigue, paralysis, and exhaustion, blue gives a soothing sensation, by lowering heart rate and allowing the body quiet time to heal itself. Yellow, with its antibacterial properties, acts as a body cleanser; while green helps create balance and harmony within the body and is known to influence the human cell structure and muscles. Likewise, orange is associated with vitality and Purple, then again, is known to calm the nervous system.

Designing healthcare spaces, especially pediatric spaces, where the patients are generally handled with great sensitivity and care, is a tough job. Moreover, interior designers need to have a basic understanding of the psychology of the target audience in order to come up with an appropriate coloring plan. Considering that the patients are children, there are many important aspects that are to be considered while choosing colors.

Kids are not at ease when it comes to medical procedures. Be it simple injections or minor wounds, it is quite common for them to find hospitals boring, dull and moreover, scary. Hence, a major issue that needs to be addressed in pediatric healthcare design is to help kids feel accepted, and find the place cheerful.

According to a study conducted to determine children’s preference with respect to colors used in a healthcare setting, it was found that pediatric patients preferred warm, inviting colors for corridors. However, preference for single colors (blue accent and pastel yellow and pastel orange) and color combinations (shades of blue, orange, pink, neutral and yellows) is said to be similar in case of nursing rooms, while that of playrooms is similar to those selected for nursing units.

Therefore, healthcare interior designers are required to consider patients and the staff, alongside diagnosis, nature of treatment, and purpose of the space-under-design, while choosing appropriate colors. Pediatric healthcare spaces need specific design criteria, including lighting, colors and accessories.

Source: Psychology Today

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