Wood Flooring in Medical Facilities

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One of my earliest memories was being in the hospital as a toddler.  I had an eye operation and was in there to heal up.  This being the early 1970s, I had to stay in there alone as the companies for whom my parents worked didn’t exactly allow for the whole ‘work-life balance’ dynamic which many of us enjoy today.

In any case, this was a time where I really grew to hate hospitals, not because I was neglected or abused while there, but because medical facilities tend to be so sterile and dehumanizing. All of that cold metal and institutional green paint is not exactly the kind of place you’d want to spend any time, even if you aren’t a toddler with an eye patch.

Hospital corridorHave a read of this article about the Duke Integrative Medicine facility at Duke University in North Carolina, where it’s understood that environment has a great deal to do with recovery times.  One thing it outlines, and why I’ve included it here, is that the use of wood seems to add a sense of hominess and warmth to a space.

Where a lot of medical facilities have to balance design with practicality (minimizing the spread of bacteria being the biggest) , it seems that wood still has a place. And perhaps a welcoming environment, which wood surfaces tend to engender, has a practical use too.  After all, if people are relaxed and not alienated by their surroundings, maybe quicker recoveries are more likely.


Depressing hospital image courtesy of frenkieb. Not to say that the hall should be adorned with wood paneling, but I’m sure they could have done better than this.

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