Hospital Rooms could help with Healing: evidence from The Cochrane Library

Hospital environments including sounds, pictures, aromas, air quality, and layout could influence patient recovery according to new research conducted by Cochrane authors and released in The Cochrane Library.

The authors completed a Cochrane Review (the highest quality of systematic reviews and considered the gold standard by the health research community) to help people involved in hospital environment design make decisions that will benefit patients' health. Hospital environments have recently received renewed interest, with considerable investments into building and renovating healthcare estates. Understanding the effectiveness of environmental interventions is important for resource utilization and providing quality care.

Dr. Amy Drahota, from the University of Portsmouth (UK), member of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group and lead author of the review, says, “Although it may seem obvious that the area in which a patient recovers will affect his or her healing, we need research evidence to help guide all the decisions in hospital design.

"This review is gigantic, including 102 studies and 38 meta-analyses, a statistical test which combines the results of individual studies, with the largest single meta-analysis bringing together the results of 29 studies,” adds Drahota. “This is really a lot of information considering many systematic reviews include an average of six analyses with three studies per analysis. However, 85 of our included studies related to the use of music in hospital. We were also interested in finding studies on all aspects of hospital environment design, but many areas have not had high-quality research studies. For example, we only found one study that met our criteria for lighting, one study that met our criteria for decoration, and we didn’t find any studies of high enough quality which looked at the use of art, or way-finding aids. And we even have some reservations about the studies we did find because their quality is not as good as it could be. So, despite the large volume of information included in this review, we're calling for more high-quality studies looking at the different components of hospital design in order to make better informed decisions on how to design or refurbish our hospitals in the future."

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Lori Tarbett
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Canadian Cochrane Centre
Marketing and Public Relations Officer
The Cochrane Collaboration
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About The Cochrane Collaboration:
The Cochrane Collaboration is the world's leading independent assessor of medical interventions and medical research. It is a not‐for‐profit organization of over 28,000
contributors from more than 100 countries and is dedicated to making up‐to‐date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare treatment readily available worldwide. Cochrane contributors evaluate and synthesize research in all aspects of health care by mining the existing research to find the best possible evidence and identify research gaps. This information is presented in systematic reviews, known as Cochrane Reviews, which are updated periodically to account for new evidence and are published online in The Cochrane Library ( Cochrane Reviews help health providers, practitioners and patients make well‐informed decisions about health care.

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EPOC reviews focus on interventions designed to improve professional practice and the delivery of effective health services. This includes various forms of continuing education, quality assurance, informatics, financial, organizational and regulatory interventions that can affect the ability of health care professionals to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.

About the Canadian Cochrane Centre:
The Canadian Cochrane Centre (CCC), registered in August 1993, is one of 14 independent, not-for-profit Centres of The Cochrane Collaboration worldwide. The CCC is located at the Centre for Practice-Changing Research at the Ottawa Hospital - General Campus. The Centre supports the activities of over 2,067 members of The Cochrane Collaboration in Canada to promote the Collaboration, The Cochrane Library and evidence-based health care in Canada. The CCC collaborates with health professional organizations, health researchers, health technology assessment groups, national consumer associations, governments and other interested groups in order to achieve this goal. The CCC is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.