End of Life Care in an Australian Hospital: The Role of the Built Environment in End of Life Nursing

  • YEAR
    Sharpley‐Head, Amelia
    2017 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science
    Conference Papers


Healthcare design is a growing field of research with recent studies revealing the impact the
built environment has on occupants’ health and well‐being. In a qualitative mixed methods case study,
data was collected from a spatial evaluation and focus group interview with nursing staff from the Royal
Adelaide Hospital Emergency Extended Care Unit in Adelaide, South Australia. Seven design elements
were identified as central to the design of end of life spaces in a hospital context. Participants prioritised
facilities for family and visitors and home‐like components and furnishings above the other design
elements. The results of the study suggest that for nursing staff the built environment needs to support
both patients and visitors at end of life. This paper discusses the observed spatial qualities and reports
the design elements identified by nursing staff as important in end of life spaces in an Emergency
Department. The outcomes from this research are useful for designers, as well as nursing staff, in order
to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of the built environment on qualitative experiences.


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