The condition of most patients in intensive care is critical. As such, suitable surroundings are all the more important for their recovery. To date, however, this has hardly been taken into consideration at all in traditional intensive care units – a matter-of-fact design and any amount of technical equipment often have a disconcerting effect on patients and create a sense of dependence and helplessness. Other important factors include the unfamiliar daily rhythm, too few relaxing deep sleep phases, and an increased lack of natural light. Yet precisely ambiance and natural daylight are important factors that can play a pivotal role in a patient’s healing process. For this reason the Charité in Berlin is currently conducting research into these connections and is using Ward 8i at the Campus Virchow-Klinikum for a pilot project.
The project was initiated by Professor Claudia Spies, a consultant anesthesiologist and head of the Charité Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine, who is researching intensive therapy and narcosis methods for delirium and cognitive dysfunction. Delirium, a condition of mental confusion frequently caused by stress, can occur in intensive care patients and lead to comorbidities. The research project “Parametric Spatial Design”, for which Charité CFM Facility Management GmbH has joined forces with the Berlin firm of architects Graft and the media designers at Art+Com, aims to reveal how deliriums of this nature can be avoided. For the study they are designing an intensive care ward with two rooms and a total of four beds from scratch: Architects, medics, and media designers conceived the interior together, availing themselves in the process of the services of language researchers, as well as light and acoustics experts.