Skip to main content
Log in

Mutual visibility and interaction: staff reactions to the ‘healing architecture’ of psychiatric inpatient wards in Denmark

  • Original Article
  • Published:
BioSocieties Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Psychiatric hospitals are increasingly designed to reflect contemporary models of care. As such, inpatient settings are changing based on the promise that the built environment will promote patient recovery and support psychiatric work. While extant literature examines how such novel designs mediate health outcomes and shape patient experiences, less attention has been directed towards staff experiences and the mediating role of the built environment for staff/patient interaction. By focusing on the nursing station at two inpatient wards of a new, purpose-built psychiatric hospital in Denmark, this study shows that the transparent properties of the built environment produce an environment of uncertainty and distance instead of intelligibility and closeness, which in turn shapes the nature of staff/patient interaction according to a differential field of visibilities. This study indicates that greater attention must be directed towards analysing the impact of novel designs on the relational dynamics between spaces, visibilities and people to appreciate how, and for whom, the built environment makes a difference in practice. This study thus contributes to the literature on the unique characteristics of psychiatric inpatient settings and how such settings impact psychiatric staff.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

© Karlsson Architects/VLA, Photograph by Jens Linde

Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thorben Peter Simonsen.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Simonsen, T.P., Duff, C. Mutual visibility and interaction: staff reactions to the ‘healing architecture’ of psychiatric inpatient wards in Denmark. BioSocieties 16, 249–269 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41292-020-00195-4

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41292-020-00195-4

Keywords

Navigation