Impact of the hospital built environment on treatment satisfaction of psychiatric in-patients

Psychol Med. 2022 Jul;52(10):1969-1980. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720003815. Epub 2020 Oct 22.


Background: A hospital built environment can affect patients' treatment satisfaction, which is, in turn, associated with crucial clinical outcomes. However, little research has explored which elements are specifically important for psychiatric in-patients. This study aims to identify which elements of the hospital environment are associated with higher patient satisfaction with psychiatric in-patient care.

Methods: The study was conducted in Italy and the United Kingdom. Data was collected through hospital visits and patient interviews. All hospitals were assessed for general characteristics, aspects specific to psychiatry (patient safety, mixed/single-sex wards, smoking on/off wards), and quality of hospital environment. Patients' treatment satisfaction was assessed using the Client Assessment of Treatment Scale (CAT). Multi-level modelling was used to explore the role of environment in predicting the CAT scores adjusted for age, gender, education, diagnosis, and formal status.

Results: The study included 18 psychiatric hospitals (7 in Italy and 11 in the United Kingdom) and 2130 patients. Healthcare systems in these countries share key characteristics (e.g. National Health Service, care organised on a geographical basis) and differ in policy regulation and governance. Two elements were associated with higher patient treatment satisfaction: being hospitalised on a mixed-sex ward (p = 0.003) and the availability of rooms to meet family off wards (p = 0.020).

Conclusions: As hospitals are among the most expensive facilities to build, their design should be guided by research evidence. Two design features can potentially improve patient satisfaction: family rooms off wards and mixed-sex wards. This evidence should be considered when designing or renovating psychiatric facilities.

Keywords: Built environment; architecture; design; hospital; patient satisfaction; psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Built Environment
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • State Medicine