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Planning and Evaluation Methodologies for Mental Healthcare Buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PEMETH (Planning and Evaluation Methodologies for Mental Healthcare Buildings)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2017-05-31

The study of the environment of acute psychiatric facilities is fundamental for the care and treatment of vulnerable people. The fundamental questions that were addressed in this proposal were: (i) how the mechanisms of the built environment influence the personal and social milieu of psychiatric space and (ii) how the environmental requirements of mentally ill people according to their needs are met by the ward. By addressing these, I aimed to exploit the scientific tools of architectural morphology and in particular Space Syntax, and juxtapose them with a patient-focused, flexible model for the evaluation of psychiatric environment tool, the SCP model, to investigate therapeutic environment in an integrated way.
The main research objectives of this proposal were: a) to advance the state of the art in mental health architecture, 2) to extend methodologies adopted by medical architecture and architectural morphology theories to the study of psychiatric space and 3) to create a new design framework that involves individual care needs and takes into account the social dynamics of space. Lack of knowledge of how space operates, might lead to buildings that generate social problems.
By using these tools, I explored the architectural context of the selected psychiatric facilities in an integrated and innovative way, involving both the individual’s relation to the therapeutic regime and social relations to the spatial configuration. The research brought together the two frameworks, the SCP model and the Space Syntax, the first designed especially for mental healthcare and the latter that covers all spatial scale. The findings of this research set the design framework for a model for evidence-based healthcare architecture to serve as a design and evaluation tool, immediately accessible to architects, planners and stakeholders.
a. Meetings with Noclor (NHS R&D) so as to establish the Mental Health Trusts that will participate
b. Cooperation with Noclor & the Joint Research Office UCL, to prepare the forms for Ethics Approvals
c. IRAS submission: REC form, R&D form, 07/2015
d. Adoption Portfolio form submitted, 07/2015
e. Attendance of lectures on Space Syntax Methodology
f. Attendance of lectures & workshops to improve teaching skills
g. Participation at events to promote the project
h. Working with the selected trusts for the completion of the SSI forms & the final approvals to start visits
i. Writing proposals for grants & relevant research activities
j. Writing papers
k. Working on creating a new course/lab on medical architecture. Data collection
l. Desktop analysis started in June 2016
m. Fieldwork started in July 2016
Main results:
1. Confirmation of the selected wards (a)
2. R&D submission accepted (b,c)
3. Ethical Opinion by REC (c)
4. CRN Portfolio Application Form accepted (d)
5. Space Syntax Methodology training (e)
6. Speaker - 3nd European Conference on Design4Health, IHEEM 2015, 20X2 (g)
7. European Healthcare Design 2015 conference (g)
8. Speaker-8th Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology, UKIEG 2016, European Business & Management Conference 2016 (g)
9. European Healthcare Design 2016 conference (g)
10. Keynote at Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo 2016 2016 (g)
11. EU Event ‘Neighbourhoods of the future’ 2015 (g)
12. UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant 2016-17 successful (i)
13. Submission at the Bartlett Sunergy Grants 2016 (i)
14. BSI ‘Design for the Mind’ Invitation to tender (i)
15. Lecture on Design for old age, University of Lincoln (i)
16. National building & equipment guidelines for mental health facilities according to facility type (i)
17. Collaborating with UCL on the contest, curriculum & marketing of the new course and with Ministries (k)
18. Desktop analysis (l,m)
19. Visit the trusts (l,n)
20. Analysis of data (l,m)
21. Presentation at BrEPS 2016 (g)
22. Undergraduate dissertation supervision (f)
23. Keynote at Cornell Symposium (g)
24. Presentation at the 4th Open Space Conference, 20x2 2016(g)
25. Participation with D4 action group at the 2nd European Summit in Brussels (g)
26. Proposal submission at the Wellcome Trust Fellowship on Medical Humanities, Abbeyfield Research Foundation, UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing 2017 (i)
27. UCL Global Mental Health Meeting (g)
28. Marie Curie Alumni Association Chapter UK (g)
29. EU Silver Economy workshop, Brussels (g)
30. Keynote at Health & Heritage Event (g)
31. Invited speaker at the Walls Do not Speak event, the Architecture & Mental Health Conference (g)
32. Organisation of the exhibition ‘Social Invisibility of mental health facilities’ (i, g)
33. Design & Health conference paper submission, Service Industries Journal submission, Amps paper (j)
34. Presentation at the SSS11, Design for Health conference, the European Healthcare Design Conference 2017 (g)
35. Presentation at the International Academy for Design &Health conference and awarded for Best research project (g)
The research shed more light to the relatively unexplored field of architecture for people with mental illness, brought together two fields of architectural knowledge, the medical architecture and the architectural morphology and brought out their strengths and limitations on the subject. The impact of the research was on the elimination of stigma and the creation of humane environments, where the users have been involved. It had an important impact for the increase of the quality of life and care of the mentally.
My fellowship with UCL and the Space Syntax Lab benefited my career with skills to reach a position of professional maturity soon with interesting new collaborations, great visibility amongst researchers and promoting research collaborations with the faculties of the university and after stay. The Space Syntax Lab offered me support and access to special facilities, software in methodologies that gave a cutting edge depth of social science to my own methodology and took the SPC model a step further. Being part of this team and more specifically working with Prof. Penn, had exceptional impact in my CV and have helped me to establish myself as a high-calibre independent researcher. His support led to my involvement in the writing of the proposal for the creation of a new MSc course at the Bartlett of healing spaces.
The project has been highly beneficial to European Research Area, as I have managed to facilitate and support high-quality research in key areas in ERA and contributed to positioning the EU as world-leader in the field of social inclusion. I was also able to develop expertise in this area of enabling space and social inclusion for the mentally ill people and managed to contribute to enhance the creativity and scientific excellence of European research, to increase the quality of life of mentally ill people and allow, through the increase of their capacity for independent living and potentially to their return to employment, to contribute to European economy and society. As a result, I have been involved in consultancy and policy such as the European Innovation Partnership on Healthy and Active Aging of the EC, being leader of a Commitment on active and healthy ageing.