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The visible patient. Hybridity and inpatient ward design in a Namibian context.
KTH, Superseded Departments, Infrastructure.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Even if one is confident that the staff provide the bestpossible treatment, being admitted into hospital is still astressful situation. In recent decades, architecturalresearchers have elaborated on aspects of the patient'sperspective where the design of the physical environment maypositively enhance the healing experience. The emergingunderstanding reveals that this is not an issue to be solvedsimply by decorative design, for it entails the spatialinterpretation and integration of broader and deeper facets ofhuman response, within which suffering, empathy andprofessional care are embraced.

This thesis elucidates the patients' use of space accordingto their cultural perceptions in two inpatient wards in aregional hospital in northwestern Namibia. The study appliescase study methodology with the focus on the interactionbetween patients, visitors and nursing staff in relation to thephysical environment.

The theoretical basis within medical anthropologyconceptualises sickness as a cultural event in the dual notionillness and disease, signifying two ways of understandingsickness, the individual and the professional interpretations.The Foucauldian theory on discipline and space suggests thatthe biomedical discipline is spatially represented by themodern hospital, from which aspects of illness areexcluded.

The results show that circumstances in the physicalenvironment highly influence the patients' illness experienceby possessing certain qualities or by the activities renderedpossible by spatial conditions. The two wards possess manymodern qualities adding to an enclosed and restrictingenvironment. Patients come from a culturally dynamic andchanging context where new approaches to healthcare andhospital physical space are generated. Whereas patients haveintegrated hospital-based biomedicine as a medical alternative,modern hospital space cannot accommodate certain patient needs.Patients, visitors and nursing staff negotiate space in orderto overcome spatial weaknesses. Family members' overnightaccommodation in the hospital, as well as their voluntarycontribution to patient care, are two important aspects whichare not spatially incorporated.

An alternative ward design is suggested in which patients'and family members' active participation in the healing processis encouraged, with support from the nursing staff. The higherflexibility the design offers caters for the spatialintegration of future hybrid processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Infrastruktur , 2003. , x, 202 p.
Trita-INFRA, ISSN 1651-0216 ; 03:063
Keyword [en]
architectural theory, hospital design, healthcare building design, inpatient ward design, hybridity, embodiment, illness and disease, illness experience, patient-focused design, patient-centred design, healing environment, therapeutic environment, gl
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3671ISBN: 91-7323-063-4OAI: diva2:9507
Public defence
NR 20140805Available from: 2003-12-09 Created: 2003-12-09Bibliographically approved

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