Design Considerations for Behavioral Health

Standards such as the FGI Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities are excellent resources to illuminate best practices. As part of a robust and comprehensive patient-safety risk assessment in pre-project planning, it is important to weigh the level of precaution necessary to reduce the risk of patient self-harm. The design challenge faced is in balancing patient safety without negatively impacting the creation of a therapeutic environment that is conducive to patient healing and recovery. Nonetheless, as the data shows, the preponderance of inpatient suicide by hanging is an area requiring increased focus and action. No product can or should claim to be “suicide proof.” That said, ligature-resistant products and systems can hopefully reduce the incidence of self harm.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discover the expanding definition of mental health, the market forces at play, and the shortfalls in inpatient capacity.
  2. Describe risk assessment strategies for the behavioral health built space.
  3. Explore several design considerations when planning the layout of mental health facilities.
  4. Identify products designed to reduce the risk of self harm.

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