Johanna Raflund Tobisson on future care environments

Johanna Raflund Tobisson is responsible for the Healthcare competence area at FOJAB and leads the work to develop the healthcare environments of the future. During her years as an architect, Johanna has worked with all types of healthcare premises, but is particularly passionate about the working environments of healthcare staff.

Why are healthcare workers' working environments so important?

 - Today, we architects work according to the concept of good care, known as person-centered care. This supports an approach where the patient comes first and is seen as a person with unique needs. The patient should feel involved and safe in the care situation. And for the patient to receive good care, the staff also need a good working environment where architecturally beautiful, appropriate and functional environments are a matter of course.

- The coronavirus pandemic made it particularly clear how important it is that staff are given every possible opportunity to provide good care. The opportunities to retain important skills increase, but also to recruit the best employees. By spending time in beautiful and well thought-out environments, a sense of pride in the workplace grows and a "we" feeling is created.

- Many of the components that we architects are trying to implement to make staff environments better are daylight, greenery, opportunities for meetings and knowledge transfer, but above all we want to create a welcoming atmosphere where staff feel prioritized! These components will be incredibly important in designing the sustainable care environments of the future.

Do you have any thoughts on the future of healthcare?

- Future patients will increasingly demand faster and more accessible care. Digitalization plays a major role here, and as architects we must consider how healthcare premises can support the needs of the future. Increased demands for accessibility mean that healthcare will increasingly be located where people move, for example in shopping centers and city centers.

- The elderly population is growing and more people will live with chronic and debilitating diseases. This means that home care will be an important issue in the future, not only for municipalities, county councils and politicians, but also for us architects. How can we best create housing that supports a greater need for care due to a gradual deterioration of health through aging and multiple diseases? The longer a patient can be cared for at home, the less the burden on the healthcare system.

- Designing healthcare premises flexibly is a must, as activities increase or decrease in scope or often need to move around. However, I believe that there is a limit to how flexible and general the design of healthcare premises should be, as it generates large additional costs, which the healthcare sector in turn has to pay for through high rents. Technology-intensive care, such as surgical wards and sterile technology units, have such specific requirements and needs that it is difficult to accommodate a ward or reception in the same premises. The room dimensions, heights and technology are simply not suitable for the new activity.