Evidence-based design in high-tech health care environments - a challenge for the future

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The overall aim of this clinical intervention project is to study if an evidence-based environment concerning sound, light and interiors affect patients´ outcomes in intensive care units (ICU).

Special focus on elderly is included. Staff and visitors experiences will be studied, as well as effects on medical/nursing errors.

An ICU patient room has been refurbished concerning sustainable and evidence-based principles. Circadian light and sound absorbents are installed. An original room is kept as control. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies will be used. Validated measurements and Achtiwaches® will be used.

The patients will be consecutively admitted to one of the two rooms. Medical data, length of stay and use of sedatives will be measured. Sound pressure and quality will be registered by acoustical measurements. Quantitative data will be analysed statistically and interview data hermeneutically.

ICU care is the most expensive care and with a growing elderly population together with developments in medical technology and treatment this put a demand of an increase of ICU beds about 10-20 % in the coming years. The New Karolinska is such example. Research has shown that care in ICUs create long recovery periods and problems in returning to work. Staff has more frequently sick leave and experience of burn-out. Thus, our project is multi-disciplinary and has impact on costs and future planning of health design.