OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this scoping review is to identify evidence on how characteristics of healing architecture in clinical contexts impact clinical practice and patient experiences. Based on these insights, we advance a more practice-based approach to the study of how healing architectures work.
BACKGROUND: The notion of "healing architecture" has recently emerged in discussions of the spatial organization of healthcare settings, particularly in the Nordic countries. This scoping review summarizes findings from seven articles which specifically describe how patients and staff experience characteristics of healing architecture.
METHODS: This scoping review was conducted using the framework developed by Arksey and O'Malley. We referred to the decision tool developed by Pollock et al. to confirm that this approach was the most appropriate evidence synthesis type to identify characteristics related to healing architecture and practice. To ensure the rigor of this review, we referred to the methodological guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for Scoping Reviews.
RESULTS: There are two main findings of the review. First, there is no common or operative definition of healing architecture used in the selected articles. Secondly, there is limited knowledge of how healing architecture shapes clinical and patient outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that further research is needed into how healing architectures make a difference in everyday clinical practices, both to better inform the development of evidence-based designs in the future and to further elaborate criteria to guide postoccupancy evaluations of purpose-built sites.