IIDA: Supporting Environments that Heal

Feb. 27, 2007
By Pam Light, FIIDA

It's no secret that Americans are living longer and that the baby boomer generation is expanding our definition of aging and retirement— consequently, quality healthcare facilities are in high demand.

Rejecting the bland and sterile hospital cliché, many hospitals are opting to enlist the help of interior designers to instill future technologies, innovative patient service facilities, hospitality-referenced comfort and a supportive environment for superior healthcare.

Healthcare design continues to grow as it becomes more and more evident that well-designed healthcare facilities support wellness of mind and body. Interior designers are aware of not only the finishes that can prevent patient falls and facility-acquired infections, but also the physical environment that promotes comfort and healing. Interior Design magazine surveyed 40 of the top healthcare design firms and found that every one of them agreed that today's healthcare clients understand that design is a healing tool. The survey also revealed that 97 percent agreed that healthcare clients are more willing to invest in design than before.
Clearly, interior design is an important asset to the healthcare industry, and it continues to grow. According to the Healthcare Finance Forum, more than $55 billion will be spent on hospital construction by 2010.

As a response to the growing demand for healthcare design, IIDA's Healthcare Forum, led by Linda Gabel, IIDA, AAHID, provides Members with a venue to discuss the latest trends and design concepts, and through the healthcare task force, disseminate knowledge through education, resources and communication. The Forum supports design professionals in the challenging and rewarding field of healthcare design and acts as a source for exploring methods of design and innovation that create positive, sustainable, effective healing environments.

IIDA sponsors a number of important healthcare design initiatives to keep practitioners updated on this constantly expanding field. Recent initiatives include
an IIDA Healthcare Forum fundraising dinner last November at Healthcare Design 06—attended by 160 designers at the Chicago Hyatt. This important networking event raised funds for the IIDA Foundation, as well as healthcare and design-related associations, including AAHID, CHER and CHD.

In addition, the Forum is planning a bariatrics presentation in March 2007 in Columbus, OH. The presentation will give a clinical overview of what the bariatric
population is comprised of, and what impact this will have on the design community. Specialists in all aspects of healthcare design will then take part in a roundtable discussion of these important issues. Tentatively scheduled for March 16, more information on "The Bariatric Population" will be available at www.iida.org.

Healthcare designers are a pro-active and critical segment of the profession, and IIDA is proud to collaborate with the leaders in this sector to provide quality resources for designers. Through the IIDA Healthcare Forum, our educational support for healthcare designers is constantly updated through new research, informative presentations and industry networking opportunities. Simply visit www.iida.org and click on "education" to access the latest postings from the Forum.

Pam Light, FIIDA, LEED AP, is the 2006-2007 president of IIDA and a senior vice president with HOK in Culver City, CA. IIDA is headquartered in Ste. 13-500 at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, and can be reached at (888) 799-IIDA; www.iida.org; or [email protected].

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