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Title: The planning and design of mental health treatment centres
Author: Crews, Joseph MacNeal
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 5339
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 1999
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This research thesis was developed as a planning and design reference for mental health treatment centres. This text is intended to assist planners, designers, and health practitioners to optimize patient health and comfort by providing suitable environments to facilitate care and treatment. This thesis examines and provides guidance on security issues, environmental design, the cognitive environment, and site development. Sample facility plans are also provided to demonstrate the design principles advocated. The foreword examines the historical background of mental health treatment facilities in relation to the context of care. The continuing problem of the alienating and dehumanizing effects of psychiatric hospitals on patients is also addressed. Security requirements are investigated in relation to patients' rights and personal needs. This text also examines related fire safety requirements and design measures to minimize the risks of suicides, self injuries, and assaults. Environmental design issues, including lighting, color, acoustics, construction materials, air quality, and spatial relationships, are examined in relation to mental and physical health. Cognitive issues such as wayfinding, mental maps, symbolism, and perceptions of physical environments and architectural design are explored in relation to mental health treatment facilities. Earlier research suggests that patients have difficulty making the cognitive adjustment to typical mental health treatment facilities, and this can negatively effect their therapy and potential recovery. An illustrated questionnaire was developed to help determine the types of facilities patients can relate to and experience relative comfort. This questionnaire was used to examine perceptions of buildings and designs in relation to the provision of comfortable and healthy environments. The survey revealed that patients, health care providers, and students shared similar perceptions of the built environment, and that buildings possessing features generally associated with domestic buildings (houses) were considered more comfortable than other building types. In particular, buildings with pitched roofs and brick exteriors were considered most suggestive of comfort. Horizontal windows were preferred to more common vertically oriented windows. This effect was more pronounced when windows framed a pleasant natural view. Curved interior forms were also found to be suggestive of comfort. Past, current, and emerging patterns of site and facility development are reviewed in association with their environmental context. The role of nature in the healing process, from ancient Greece to recent discoveries, is also examined. The final chapter of this thesis is a demonstration of design principles with annotated drawings of a hypothetical inpatient unit and outpatient clinic. These drawings are provided to demonstrate an integration of thesis findings and design principles. These drawings are not a definitive design or prototype, because every site and building program are different and require their own design solution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TH Building construction