The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of design elements for elder-friendly hospitals through a mail survey presented to 191 experts who work in the medical and design field in South Korea. To create applicable design dimensions based on a reliable interdisciplinary consensus, the respondents were asked to rate the importance of 33 design elements stemming from peer-reviewed journal papers related to the healthcare environment for older adults. Independent t-test and factor analysis were used for data analysis, and seven extracted factors were labeled "fall prevention," "privacy," "familiarity," "wayfinding," "social support," "nature distraction," and "infection prevention." The significant finding is that both the medical and design groups considered patients' safety, such as preventing falls and infection, as a primary design concern. However, the results also show statistically significant different design perceptions between the medical and design groups in every factor category. The medical group tended to focus more on patients' physical health, while the design professionals placed greater importance on psychological and social health. Designers tended to focus more on design elements that have an indirect effect on patients' health, such as views of nature, privacy space, lighting, color, and wayfinding. Meanwhile, the medical group emphasized safety-related design attributes such as handrails, safety bars, visual connection between staff and patients, and disinfecting procedures (i.e., hand-washing). Analysis of these results can contribute to creating design guidelines for elder-friendly hospitals and provide new knowledge for designers, planners, and facility managers to make practical decisions for design projects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts