This paper aims to analyze visitors’ waiting behavior in corridors of an internal medicine ward in relation to concepts of territoriality and privacy.
Waiting activities, visitors’ room numbers and duration of activities were recorded on a floor plan. Results were tallied according to behavioral and architectural zones in which the activity took place.
Locations that are near patient rooms that provide visual and auditory access are largely used as territorial areas for non-privacy-required activities. Ends of corridors, secondary corridors and staircases were mainly used for activities that required some level of privacy such as grieving.
As is true with post-occupancy evaluations in other single buildings, this research may not be generalizable to all internal medicine wards. Future research could measure whether responding to visitors’ spatial needs could result in lower density and sense of crowding in the corridors, as well as reduce stress and task interruptions and increase efficiency of patient-check rounds.
The findings indicate that internal medicine wards should include waiting areas near the patient rooms for visitors to be able to keep visual and auditory connection with their patients, as well as areas that provide privacy. This may help lower density, sense of crowding, distraction of medical staff, stress and burn-out and errors, as well as increase the efficiency of patient checks.
The ways in which architectural design of internal medicine corridors can support visitors’ activities and environmental needs such as territoriality and privacy is an issue that is rarely examined. This paper also adds an example from a non-Western culture, to a literature that is dominated by examples from Western cultures.
This research was made possible by the generous support of the European Research Council grant (FP-7 ADG 340753). The author is thankful to the hospital staff for their accommodation, to Maya Hazan for assisting the data collection and to Efrat Eizenberg for her invaluable insights during the research. Members of the research laboratory within which this project was conducted includes the lab’s supervisor Yehuda Kalay, advisor Jacob Yahav and Kartikeya Date, Michal Gath-Morad, Nirit Pilosof, Davide Schaumann, Hadas Soffer and Einat Zinger.
Morhayim, L. (2019), "Visitors’ use of corridors in internal medicine wards: Modalities of territoriality, proxemics, and privacy while waiting", Facilities, Vol. 37 No. 5/6, pp. 313-329. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-01-2018-0024Download as .RIS
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