Hospital systems are increasingly adopting the framework offered by the field of public health, or community health, to address their communities as a whole, not just individuals who are ill. Public health practitioners begin with the principle that health outcomes have social determinants, which include safe housing, places to walk and socialize outdoors, contact with nature, access to healthy food, and of course access to the arts.
Healthcare delivery is undergoing a remarkable transformation, which will change the way healthcare facilities are design. By directing its efforts toward communities, and playing a larger role in the promotion of public health, hospital design is turning “inside out.” Rather than a destination for sick people where medical treatment is contained, a hospital building may now be a community center where health and well-being can be disseminated.
One way that medical practice can reflect this new perspective is through “social prescribing.” A medical doctor may direct a patient toward social services, rather than just prescribing drugs and medical treatment. And these services are increasingly integrated into the selfsame medical facility.
Just as hospital design is turning “inside out,” art design for healthcare will need to understand the public and community role it plays, and the connections that should be drawn to community.
For instance: here’s an amazing story about medical intervention that supports access to the visual arts as a therapeutic intervention in Montreal. The museum administrators surely have learned that they are operating another “environment of care,”
The ”neutral, beautiful, inspiring space" of a museum can boost mood, improve wellbeing, and give patients a chance to explore experiences and senses outside of their illness
The idea that "art is good medicine", as the Montreal museum claims, is gaining traction around the world.