‘Healing environments’, omgevingen die een helende werking hebben? Deze term roept nogal wat vragen op wanneer je erbij stilstaat. Kan de gebouwde zorgomgeving daadwerkelijk patiënten genezen, of heeft de omgeving eerder een ondersteunende rol in het zorgproces? En hoe sterk is het wetenschappelijk bewijs voor een veronderstelde helende werking?
Do healing environments have healing powers or does the environment play a supportive role in the process of healthcare delivery? And how strong is the scientific evidence for these healing powers? In this commentary, I first discuss the importance of the building in which healthcare is delivered, and how the physical healthcare environment can contribute to patients’ well-being. Next, I provide scientific evidence demonstrating how various environmental factors can influence the health and well-being of patients. However, we still need to further our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause these effects. This knowledge will allow us to design environmental interventions more effectively. Additionally, cost-effectiveness analyses are needed to provide further evidence of the potential effects of environmental interventions. Based on the research discussed, I conclude that the physical healthcare environment has the potential to contribute to the healing process.
Conflict of interest and financial support: potential conflicts of interest have been reported for this article. An ICMJE form provided by the author is available online along with the full text of this article.