When talking about healthcare design, our focus most often is on the patient’s overall well being, and of course their quick and full recovery. Every design choice usually reflects the patient’s experience first and foremost, and then, in some cases, comes the needs of the caregiver.

I always found the patient-caregiver path to be quite alarming. Although the patient is the ultimate priority in the healthcare environment, just by the nature of the field, does it really facilitate the patient in the long run to also be the primary concern during the design process? If the principal concern of the healthcare environment was actually for the caregiver’s well being, and ultimately their ability to best care for their patients, wouldn’t this really be in the best interest for the patient outcome?

Although these are both definitely not the approach that all designers choose to take during the initial design phase—a multidisciplinary schematic design can have quite a holistic outcome—it is arguably still the revered precedent for many.

Which should come first when designing a healthcare environment, the needs of the patient or the needs of the caregiver?