Exploring Dimensions of Nature in Hospice Design

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While there is a growing body of literature regarding design guidelines for the provision of nature in hospice residences, there has been little empirical inquiry pertaining to this specific topic. This thesis explores features providing access to nature to residents, visitors, and staff members in in hospice residences, in hopes of contributing to the field of evidence-based design in hospice settings. Data was collected through conducting semi-structured interviews with staff and volunteers at a hospice residence in Ithaca, NY to corroborate current nature-related design recommendations for hospice facilities. The results of these interviews, in conjunction with the findings of a literature review, were used to generate a survey aimed at assessing the importance of specific features facilitating access to nature, the differences in importance between various user groups (patient, staff, and visitors), the effectiveness of existing hospice facilities in providing these design features, and the effects of setting (rural, suburban, or urban) on the effectiveness of hospice facilities providing access to nature. The nine interviews conducted supported existing design recommendations and assisted in identifying particularly important topics to be addressed in the survey. The findings of the survey, which was distributed to hospice staff via a national hospice listserv, included the identification of window views, daylight, and fresh air as the three most important features for all user groups. This study concludes by discussing design recommendations generated from the findings as well as limitations and future directions.

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Design; Biophilia; Evidence-Based Design; Hospice Design; Nature


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Shepley, Mardelle M.

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Sagha Zadeh, Rana

Degree Discipline

Design and Environmental Analysis

Degree Name

M.S., Design and Environmental Analysis

Degree Level

Master of Science

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dissertation or thesis

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