The proportion of the number of people aged 65 years and over compared to the younger population is steadily increasing in Europe. To accommodate growing healthcare needs, at least three European countries recently allocated a budget of €477 toward the building of new healthcare facilities. With age, the incidence of cancer greatly increases. Cancer is one of the primary causes of morbidity in Europe, with more than 3 million new cases yearly. Moreover, cancer patients’ experience of mental and physical fatigue, and anxiety is more pronounced due to the ageing process. Costly cancer medicine and research address the treatment of illness, yet the socio-spatial therapeutic qualities of cancer clinics, a fundamental aspect of health, remain an overlooked element of healthcare provision. Medical and architectural researchers recognize the therapeutic role of the built environment, yet primarily focus on patients’ needs in inpatient wards. Research in outpatient clinics has been scarce, even though the transient nature of outpatient clinics often fails to support fundamental socio-spatial needs such as privacy, territoriality and accessibility. Articulation of how the built environment of care, particularly outpatient cancer clinics, can support older patients’ wellbeing lacks interdisciplinary perspective. The scientific objectives of this project are a) exploration of the spatial elements that influence multifaceted needs of older cancer patients through ethnographic, quantitative research and gender analysis; b) the establishment of an interdisciplinary theoretical foundation based on medical sociology, environmental psychology and built environment studies. Articulating the spatial determinants of healthcare provision for the older population increases their survival rates and of other vulnerable groups with cognitive and physical impairment. This research addresses three Horizon 2020 challenges: inclusive society, wellbeing and health and resource efficiency.
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