Since Yewdale launched the SafeDoor, an industry leading anti-ligature en-suite door, we have seen an abundance of natural imagery printed on the vinyl material on the exterior of the door.
As well as providing a safe means of privacy, normality and dignity in a health care environment, it is possible that the SafeDoor feeds into a wider strategy of care.
By often being a large, blank-canvas in the room, and having the opportunity to print nearly any image on to it, NHS Trusts and private health care groups seized the opportunity to add to the calming, relaxing environment that is conducive to a person’s care.
It has long been understood that the views available to hospital patients play a part in their recovery, as illustrated in R. S. Ulrich’s study ‘View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery’ in 1983. Ulrich found that patients with a view of trees ‘had fewer negative evaluative comments from nurses, took fewer moderate and strong analgesic doses, and had slightly lower scores for minor postsurgical complications’ when compared to those who had nothing but a brick wall to look at through their window.
Ulrich concluded that ‘hospital design and siting decisions should take into account the quality of patient window views.’
Granted, this study only focused on patients recovering from gall bladder removal surgery in Pennsylvania between 1972 and 1981, yet it shows how intrinsically linked the environment is with a patient’s recovery in a clinical setting.
Around the same time of Ulrich’s study, a book named ‘Biophilia’ was published, written by biologist Edward O. Wilson. Wilson hypothesised that humans are drawn to life and living systems, preferring to associate themselves with nature as a product of evolution.
This resulted in the term ‘Biophilic Design’, a concept which sees nature used in the architecture and design of buildings. There are many instances of Biophilic Design that often go unnoticed and taken for granted. It’s a concept that is found everywhere; from decking, patios and porches that provide transitional space between indoors and outdoors, to natural materials in homes and natural colour schemes, green walls and landscaping. By being so common in everyday life, it’s clear that biophilic design isn’t the reserve of top interior designers; it is something we can all understand.
Mental health care service users would benefit most from lessons learned from this research as many are receiving care in environments where they are unable to leave for a period of time, and therefore unable to experience nature first hand. One would almost think that this may be detrimental, however these health care facilities feature state of the art systems that are combined to ensure the care and recovery of the service user.
These systems typically include anti-ligature items, such as the YewdaleKestrel® blinds and en-suite products. These anti-ligature products are often included in mental health care facilities where service users receive care and treatment for a variety of mental health issues.
In these environments anti-ligature products help to maintain functionality and normality whilst never providing a ligature risk thanks to the magnetic brackets. One such item that is a superb means of giving privacy for an en-suite without posing a risk is the YewdaleKestrel® SafeDoor.
SafeDoor is constructed from lightweight 4kg soft foam which is coated with a strong, antimicrobial, stain-resistant vinyl material that can withstand regular and sustained use. It’s held in place using magnets which eliminate anchor points and the door will separate when put under a load of 9kg or more.
The key point with SafeDoor is the vinyl material on the exterior of the door. It is essentially a blank canvas ready for a design to be printed on to it. Yewdale is able to print any image sent to us, providing it is of a high enough resolution and you have the right to reproduce it. We’ve seen all kinds of designs put onto these doors, but most commonly they depict idyllic natural scenery.
The door acts similar to adding a painting to a room, it can help to draw focus, give someone something to look at away from the possibly institutional setting they’re in. It adds a sense of normality and reassurance, a scene that eases the mind. In turn this may help to nurture positive emotions towards the environment, making it feel more like a good experience despite how the person is feeling at the time.
The benefits of nature on a person’s mental health are vast, from helping to improve mood, provide relaxation, increased confidence and self-esteem and more. This can be partly attributed to the exercise and stimulation one enjoys when out in nature, normally through the release of endorphins.
Endorphins alone are helpful in treating depression, and the chemical changes that occur in the brain when participating in exercise can produce a positive mood and a reduction in anxiety. Spending time in nature itself has been proven to produce anxiolytic effects, which helps to treat anxiety.
Green-coloured environments have been linked to restorative effects as it provides sensory stimuli that holds attention and reduces the harmful effects of rumination. The colour green, blue and yellow obviously feature in images of natural scenery used on SafeDoors.
Bringing elements of nature into a mental health care facility obviously has difficulties, with consideration needed to ensure no ligature points or weapons can be formed, and so the simple-yet-effective YewdaleKestrel® is the easy way to inject some colour, nature and fun into an environment that risks looking clinical and stale. The environment in which someone receives care needs to be on the same high level as the care they receive.