A Patient Room Focused on Comfort and Safety

OneHaven is an uplifting, restorative environment that empowers patients to take active ownership of their behavioral health wellness journey while maintaining a safe and secure environment for themselves and their caregiving staff.

A small team of architects and planners created an initial design that is now influencing global standards from the U.S. and Canada to the Middle East.

The design team conducted a literature analysis of studies from peer-reviewed journals addressing patient, family and staff outcomes in behavioural health settings. They then consulted experts in the field of behavioural health design, as well as families of past behavioural health inpatients to uncover patient and family needs that have been witnessed through their experiences. Case studies of behavioral health projects from the Center for Health Design were reviewed to gain design insights from real-world facilities.

After winning the Institute for Patient-Centered Design’s 2015 behavioural health inpatient environment competition, OneHaven was built as a high-fidelity mockup at a Veterans Administration New Jersey Healthcare System location in order to study the patient and staff response.

Patient, Family and Staff Safety

Safety in behavioural health settings is a top priority for patients, family and staff alike. The design features of OneHaven incorporated specific strategies to promote safety for everyone, and many products were developed directly with manufacturers to improve the components available for this environment type:

  • Fixed-in-place or weighted furniture prevents patients from using it destructively. The design team worked with OFS Brands to design this piece that is now being used in other mental and behavioural health facilities.
  • A canted toilet room wall provides caregiver visibility into all areas of the room from the entrance.
  • Ligature free fixtures and accessories prevent self-harming behaviour.
  • Recessed, integral lighting along the perimeter of the bathroom mirror eliminates the need for protruding light fixtures.
  • The walls of the patient toilet room are lined with solid surface sheet goods so there are no grout lines, creating a pick-proof surface and reducing the risk of mold.
  • Doors enhance staff safety while respecting patient privacy. The patient room door swings in both directions to reduce the risk of barricading behavior.
  • The sliding bathroom door prevents patients from hiding behind the door or using it to inflict harm on themselves or staff. The design team worked with Accurate Lock and Hardware to develop this piece specifically for mental and behavioural health environments because most suicides and attempts at self-harm occur in the patient bathroom. This door is now approved in the New York State Office of Mental Health Patient Safety Standards Guidelines.

Patient Empowerment and Respect

Providing patients an appropriate level of choice and control in their environment empowers them in their rehabilitation journey and conveys a sense of respect from caregivers to patients. We took great care to ensure that the strategies implemented to provide a sense of control did not result in any safety concerns for patients, family or staff.

A patient-controlled digital art wall allows patients to choose which natural landscape scene is displayed. This is an important component of our evidence-based design hypothesis. Patients are able to also control light levels through the use of integral blinds and dimmable fixtures. The design of the room encourages patient control over where they sit and how they use the room. The combination shelf-seat-storage gives the patient ultimate flexibility.

Connection to Nature and Natural Light

Patients can control light levels through with integral blinds and dimmable fixtures. The design of the room encourages patient control over where they sit and how they use the room. Connection to the outdoors is emphasized through a large window and the digital artwork display containing views of natural landscapes. Both provide a positive healing distraction for the patient and the window provides natural light and orients the patient to the time of day — an important part of rehabilitation. A small four inch opening is available for access to fresh air.

Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis led the evidence-based design study of the high-fidelity mock-up, which has helped to fill the shortage of research regarding inpatient mental and behavioural health facilities. This study led the VA Office of Construction and Facilities Management to revise to their Behavioral Health Design Guidelines and will directly impact the future design of mental and behavioural health facilities.

Recognized by Fast Company's World Changing Ideas Awards. Finalist in three categories: Best World Changing Ideas North America; General Excellence; and Spaces, Places, and Cities.