Client-centered design of residential addiction and mental health care facilities: staff perceptions of their work environment

Qual Health Res. 2011 Nov;21(11):1527-38. doi: 10.1177/1049732311413782. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


In this article we discuss the findings from a series of focus groups conducted as part of a 3-year, mixed-method evaluation of clinical programs in a large mental health and substance use treatment facility in Canada. We examined the perceptions of clinical personnel on the physical design of new treatment units and the impact on service delivery and the work environment. The new physical design appeared to support client recovery and reduce stigma; however, it brought certain challenges. Participants reported a compromised ability to monitor clients, a lack of designated therapeutic spaces, and insufficient workspace for staff. They also thought that physical design positively facilitated communication and therapeutic relationships among clinicians and clients, and increased team cohesion. We suggest that, from these findings, new avenues for research on achieving the important balance between client and staff needs in health facility design can be explored.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Environment Design
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Facility Planning
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Ontario
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Program Evaluation
  • Residential Facilities / methods
  • Residential Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Perception
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Workforce
  • Workplace / psychology