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Hospital care is still an integral part of mental healthcare services.
But the impact of ward design on treatment outcomes is unclear.
To review the effects of ward design on patient outcomes and patient and
A systematic review of literature was carried out on Medline, Embase and
PsycINFO. Papers on psychogeriatric and child and adolescent wards were
excluded as these necessitate specific safety features.
Twenty-three papers were identified. No strong causal links between
design and clinical outcomes were found. Private spaces and a homely
environment may contribute to patient well-being. Different stakeholders
may experience ward design in conflicting ways; design has a symbolic and
social dimension for patients.
Data on the impact of design on treatment outcomes are inconclusive.
Rigorous randomised controlled trials, qualitative studies and novel
methods are called for. Different stakeholders' responses to the ward as
a symbolic environment merit further investigation.
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