Wikipedia's definition of a healing environment describes a physical setting and organizational culture that supports patients and families through the stresses imposed by illness, hospitalization, medical visits, the process of healing, and sometimes bereavement. The concept implies that the physical healthcare environment can make a difference in how quickly the patient recovers from or adapts to specific acute and chronic conditions.
Do colors affect this? Yes. But, not specific colors. Colors are seen and felt differently by everyone. I have been asked over and over “what color is good for this space?” There is no right or wrong answer. For me it always poses more questions:
What colors do you like? What colors do your patients like?
What are people going to be doing in this space?
How do you want them to feel when in this space?
What color makes you feel that way?
And even deeper, what colors do you hate? Have you asked your patients?
Think about it this way. When you go to a doctor’s office, what is going to make you more at ease? White walls with grey chairs? Red walls with black leather seating? Muted green walls with wood and patterned upholstered seating? Odds are good most of us would not make the same choice. And, it might depend on what feelings you get when you go to that specific doctor. Now, if you were five years old and were going to the doctor would you like to see those muted green walls and upholstered furniture? Maybe…or would you prefer neutral walls with bright color accents and some funky furniture and murals? Everyone’s answers can be totally different.
Healing environments are all about what is going to help your patients heal faster; What would help make them more comfortable; What would help them achieve the health you want to achieve.
You have the final say in what that is going to be. Next time you go to a medical facility look around. Think about how you feel. Is it a healing environment?