Several studies departing from the experiential worlds of patients and staff have explored the links between the architectural design of forensic psychiatric buildings and the patient recovery process. Others have proposed models of how psychiatric wards may be designed to reduce stress and aggression. Nevertheless, one of the most prominent recommendations in the literature concerning psychiatric hospital design is to minimize the institutional atmosphere and instead promote a more homelike environment. Even though current literature has affirmed the importance of the physical environment in supporting better outcomes in mental health services, more rigorous research is needed to establish the link between structural surroundings and mental health outcomes.
In November 2018, the psychiatric Aarhus University Hospital (AUH), dating back to 1852, relocated to a new modern purpose-built psychiatric hospital. The relocation presents a unique opportunity to examine the effect of structural surroundings on aggression and how the physical environment may impact recovery.
Aim of study
To explore how inpatients and staff in medium secure forensic psychiatric wards experience the structural environment, focusing on homeliness and how the structural surroundings may impact recovery and aggression.
The study design is mixed-method. We perform semi-structured interviews with staff and patients, collect structural data from official blueprints and building databases on the old and new forensic wards. Interview data will be coded in Nivivo12 and analyzed using thematic analysis inspired by the literature on patient recovery. We depart from a model of how architecture may support the reduction of aggression in wards and evaluate what kind/if critical architectural features are recognized as essential to minimize the risk of aggression.
Will be presented and discussed at the conference.