Safe and Supportive Neurorehabilitation Environments: Results of a Structured Observation of Physical Features Across Two Rehabilitation Facilities
Colley, J. & Zeeman, H.
Objective: This research aimed to identify the extent to which physical features of two neurorehabilitation units appeared to support positive patient experience and recovery.
Background: Neurorehabilitation inpatient facilities must be focused on safety management and efficiency of care, as well as being supportive of the patient experience. While occupational safety and risk management is paramount, the supportive nature of the physical setting for inpatient neurorehabilitation following spinal cord injury or acquired brain injury is unclear.
Method: Structured observation of two physical environments using an adapted observational tool comprising 237 items across 8 area zones, and 3 major categories (patient safety, worker safety and efficiency, and holistic patient experience).
Results: Results indicated that across both neurorehabilitation settings, the built environment attended well to occupational safety, risk reduction, harm prevention and internal security (up to 87% in spinal injury unit [SIU] and 95% in brain injury unit [BIU] patient rooms), but with limited evidence of physical features to support psychosocial needs or promote positive user experiences (up to 30% in SIU and 45% in BIU patient rooms).
Conclusion: The built environments observed appeared to be an underutilized resource for supporting positive psychosocial neurorehabilitation experiences (including complex behavior support) beyond hazard management.