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Room Design - A Phenomenological-Hermeneutical Study: A Factor in Creating a Caring Environment

Journal article
Authors F. Sundberg
I. Fridh
Sepideh Olausson
B. Lindahl
Published in Critical Care Nursing Quarterly
Volume 42
Issue 3
Pages 265-277
ISSN 0887-9303
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 265-277
Language en
Keywords caring, critical care nursing, evidence-based design, intensive care units, qualitative research, adult, article, environmental planning, gaze, human, intensive care nursing, intensive care unit, interview, nursing staff, intensive care
Subject categories Nursing


Medical technology has progressed tremendously over the last few decades, but the same development cannot be seen in the design of these intensive care unit environments. Authors report results of a study of evidence-based room design, emphasizing the impact on conveying a caring attitude to patients. Ten nonparticipant observations were conducted in patient rooms with 2 different designs, followed by interviews. The data were analyzed using a phenomenological-hermeneutical approach. The results did not reveal that it was obvious that redesigned spaces resulted in a more caring attitude. The meanings of caring displayed during nursing activities were interpreted by interpreting gazes. Some of the nursing staff had an instrumental gaze, interpreted as caring with a task-orientated approach, while others communicated their caring with an attentive and attuned gaze, where the needs of the patients regulated the working shift. The study findings indicated that caring may not be perceived when nurses use a task-oriented approach. However, when nurses practice a person-centered approach, using an attentive and attuned gaze, caring is conveyed. Caring in intensive care contexts needs to be assisted by a supportive environment design that cultivates the caring approach. © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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