Why we need better-designed labour wards
I recently visited a new McDonald’s outlet on the northern fringes of Sydney. What I found inside left me gawping in astonishment: soft lighting, views of nature, a mixture of private and communal spaces, adaptable furnishings, excellent way-finding, warm colours, natural materials, positive distractions!
Everywhere I looked I saw evidence-based design features that, when translated to the hospital environment, have been shown to improve experiences and outcomes for users. But this was a McDonald’s store… so why did it feel better designed for low-risk maternity care than most hospitals?
The answer is simple. McDonald’s is using design to create spaces that support an optimal consumer experience.
The influence of design
In the maternity care setting, the childbearing woman is the primary consumer. And from a health perspective, the optimal experience and outcome for most women is a normal birth – without medical intervention.
But despite this, medical intervention is at an all-time high in this country, with caesarean sections now accounting for 33% of all births.
About 97% of Australian women give birth in conventional hospital labour ward rooms. These rooms are commonly designed with a narrow bed as the focal point, contain multiple pieces of medical equipment and display a clinical aesthetic.
Read the full article at the Conversation: Babies, not burgers: why we need better-designed labour wards.