Letter to the Editors
Excerpt: One of us, Diana Anderson, is a physician and an architect whose career is aimed at bridging the gap that exists between medicine, research, and architecture in order to improve design and operational efficiency of the clinical environment. She has worked in many hospitals and healthcare environments that are not supportive of staff well-being nor sometimes even patient healing. Dr. Anderson often uses clinical anecdotes in her writing, linking them back to design in order to increase awareness of design’s impact among her clinical colleagues. A recently published piece in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society entitled Rx: Window Bed recounted her experience with critical care unit delirium and the potential impact of windows on a patient’s physiologic response; a synopsis of this encounter is detailed below.
The other author, Penelope Ann Shaw (Penny), is a nursing home resident who has been living in a facility in a bed by a window for 11 years. She is a survivor of critical care (having spent 4 months in an ICU on life support) from an acute phase of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disorder in which a person’s immune system damages the nerve cells, in her case causing almost total paralysis. That was followed by a year in a respiratory rehabilitation hospital. Of the 11 years in her current facility, she was mostly in bed for 3½ years with a tracheostomy and a feeding tube.
Penny reached out to Diana after reading that piece in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in order to relate her story of how a window changed her experience dramatically while in long-term care. They teamed up to write a piece that builds on the topic of windows and exterior views. In the following sections, they provide insight into how these architectural elements can be life changing for patients and of vital importance for staff.