A (s)pace for rest: how architecture can support recovery and reduce stress for hospital staff

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2022
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Barkfors, Ebba
Bergman, Jennie
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Work-related stress is one of the most common causes of illness reported by workers. The Swedish Work Environment Authority’s forecasts show that stress-related illness is expected to increase in the future. The solution to the problem of work-related stress is complex and requires multidisciplinary measures. Recovery is a key factor for us to feel good and be able to perform. The institute of stress medicine in Gothenburg has conducted a study to assess how the pandemic has affected the work environment. One of the conclusions from the study is that it is vital to ensure that there is a possibility of recovery during working hours. The most vulnerable workers are those in the healthcare and health sectors. During times of high workload such as the pandemic, studies show that many healthcare workers perceive their work environment as deteriorating. In general, healthcare staff currently have no guaranteed specific space at their workplace to be able to have an effective recovery during working hours. The physical environment has a great impact on our ability to recover mentally. Studies show that access to greenery in the workplace has a positive effect on stress and that the right type of focus and degree of complexity in a space can also reduce stress. The purpose of the thesis has been to explore the need for and design of a facility for healthcare workers that can support recovery and prevent work related stress. The aim has been to create an architecture where the design can support mental recovery by working with senses and atmospheres. The methods include literature studies within restorative environments, biophilic design, salutogenic design and interviews with relevant informers such as healthcare workers and people working within the field of occupational health. The investigation resulted in a design proposal consisting of partly acupuncture interventions and mainly a building, with a restorative layout that supports healthcare workers mental health both in a preventive and rehabilitating manner. It is located within Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.
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Healthcare, biophilic design, restorative environments, salutogenic design, occupational health
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