The trend to bring natural light and views to nature into healthcare spaces has been making the rounds.

Patient rooms are being built with expansive windows. Cafeterias have views to the outdoors and sometimes even access to outdoor gardens and respite areas. Staff spaces are seeing the light, too, with light wells that bring sun light into interior corridors, workspaces, and operating rooms.

Many emergency department (ED) projects are also illustrating an understanding of the healing benefits of daylight and nature views by bringing more of these elements into these critical, high-stress areas.

For the expansion of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, design team Stantec focused on utilizing daylight in a number of places throughout the facility to improve the patient experience.

In the emergency department, this effort evolved into nature-imbued courtyards within the patient treatment zones (see image in gallery).

Several other projects stand out for their ability to light up the ED with more daylight and nature views. Click on the links for images and more details.

  • Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital—This public-safety net hospital opened in December 2013 with an abundance of views to the outside, many overlooking the public green space at the front door or interior courtyards. In addition, The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis The Well terrarium is visible from the emergency department waiting room and main concourse.
  • Legacy ER—Located in Allen, Texas, this freestanding, 8,432-square-foot building uses several design features to ensure a patient is never more than five steps away from an outdoor view or natural light These features include: large planes of glazing on three sides of the lobby, multiple skylights situated at strategic intersections, and overhead glazing in treatment rooms that affords outdoor views.
  • Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Emergency Care Center at Ocean Medical Center—This 140,000-square-foot facility in Brick, N.J., uses large skylights in all of the nursing areas to help bring natural light deep into the interior of the ED. In the patient treatment rooms, natural light comes from high clerestory windows that offer views to the sky while protecting patient privacy.

For more on emergency departments design trends, check out Healthcare Design’s December issue or read:

Design Strategies For Today’s Emergency Departments

Healthcare Design Pulse: Cutting-Edge Emergency Departments

Podcast: 3 Design Ideas That Are Transforming Emergency Departments