If there is one thing the pandemic has taught the world is that we didn’t have enough hospitals. Yet, building a hospital comes at a high cost. Besides, it is fair to say that healthcare real estate requires maintenance, management, and staff. The solution to the pandemic was never to build more hospitals, of course. However, healthcare professionals agree that additional equipment and space could have helped to save more lives.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has also encouraged the healthcare sector to rethink some of its methods and practices. As doctors took on patient consultations online, a new question arose about what the hospitals of tomorrow would need. There is no denying that healthcare requirements have evolved and continue to grow to adjust to societal changes. Is it time to change the building in which our doctors and nurses work day after day to save lives?
Healthcare centers need to rethink their physical presence
Real estate in the healthcare industry fails to meet patient and staff expectations. Indeed, while the need for healthcare shows no sign of slowing down, real estate investments fail to match the same growth pace. As a result, it makes sense for doctors to shift more and more to outpatient care, decentralizing the hospital services and reducing pressure on the healthcare infrastructure.
Additionally, patients have also expressed a desire to stay at home. The aging population, for instance, prefers the comfort and reassurance of a known environment. Comparatively, nursing facilities are pushed to their limits, unable to provide similar comfort levels to their growing patient number. In a situation where outpatient treatment becomes the norm through telehealth and individual patient visits, healthcare properties can scale down, becoming more manageable for professionals and less overwhelming for visiting patients. Additionally, sizing down can also free up the budget for further improvements.
Healthcare needs a centralized approach
Despite the popularity of telehealth, patients will still need to attend physical examinations. The typical patient’s journey could start with their family doctor before being referred to a specialist where they can receive a complete diagnosis and a prescription. From a patient’s perspective, the process can be synonymous with long commute time and multiple appointments. In some cases, patients also need to travel to different locations for follow-up appointments or to pick up their medications. It makes sense for healthcare centers to provide a 360-degree approach, ensuring patients do not need to travel to different locations to seek care. The healthcare center can focus on providing valuable estate extensions, such as reaching out to a reliable industry leader to purchase existing healthcare businesses. A small doctor clinic could purchase and relocate a pharmacy business, which could enable patients to pick up their prescriptions on-site.
Healthcare must begin with educating patients on nutrition
Nutrition is a commonly complex topic for patients. Many patients are unsure how to adjust their diets to meet specific health requirements following a treatment course or surgery. A healthy diet is an essential part of the patient’s recovery. However, sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult for patients with chronic disease, long-term treatments, or heavy surgical operations. Bringing nutrition experts to the healthcare center can help create individual diet plans to meet patient requirements. Additionally, healthcare centers could also introduce food services, such as providing specialist catering delivery for patients. The healthcare real estate of the future could have a patient kitchen area, providing dedicated food workshops and offering a food delivery service locally.
The role of a music room in healthcare
Music in itself is a healing element. It touches individuals regardless of culture, language, or location. The American Music therapy Association constantly researches the deep connection to music and the way it echoes the individual physiology. Music can significantly benefit mental health. According to research, listening to music can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. More and more experts also advise that music could be incorporated into healthcare settings to extend benefits beyond mental health. Indeed, music could reduce pain, bring stress relief, enhance memory, and even help recover brain injury. Therefore, this begs an important question for the hospitals of tomorrow: Will there be a music room for patients?
Where is the stress relief room in healthcare?
Companies such as Airbnb or Google showcase their exciting office decor, mixing colors, shapes, and quirky furniture to build a welcoming and soothing environment. Remote workers get home office upgrades to make the space more comfortable. Office employees can spend their break time playing video games, doing yoga, or taking a nap in a specifically designed break room. When it comes to the healthcare sector, the break room appears less exciting despite the high level of stress doctors and nurses face every day. The healthcare profession deserves new break areas that can help them relax, rest, and de-stress. Additionally, it would also make sense to introduce similar services to patients and their families.
The presence of nature within the healthcare center
Gardening can have a huge impact on a person’s health and well-being. Indeed, cortisol levels are reduced in a green environment, keeping stress low. Additionally, light gardening can also be beneficial as it can lower blood pressure, increase vitamin D levels, and support a healthy diet. Proving access to a garden within the hospital ground could prove helpful for long-term patients. Individuals who need to recover from an injury or receive treatment for an illness can find peace and health within a green surrounding.
Are we ready for healthcare 2.0?
As smart homes are growing in popularity, it’s time to think about smart hospitals where patients and visitors can interact with technology. A highly robotized and digitized environment can improve patient care and communication. Using programmed robots in the reception area, for instance, can help guide patients and visitors to the right location. Screens with emojis can be used to communicate pain levels, mental health, or even treatment with patients. Indeed, young children, seniors, and non-native speakers can find it hard to express their symptoms. However, using visual clues, they could share their experience with doctors and nurses.
What will the hospital of the future look like? It is an impossible question to answer. However, doctors and patients agree that the traditional healthcare structure needs to evolve to provide better support for all.