Consumer feedback in Stroke and Neurology ward design

Miss Katherine Clarke1, Professor Karen Willis1,2

1Melbourne Health, Parkville, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia


Consumer Feedback in Stroke and Neurology Ward Design

While it is now recognised that the physical environment impacts on the healthcare experience of patients there is minimal empirical evidence about how patients feel about the acute care environment or about involvement of consumers in health environment co-design. During the process of establishing a new Hospital Stroke and Neurology Ward at Melbourne Health, we sought feedback from stroke and neurology inpatients and their families to establish what aspects of the current ward environment had a positive influence on recovery, and identify aspects that would improve the patient experience of care.

An exploratory study was undertaken.  Following ethics approval, thirty consumers completed a brief survey about the ward environment verbally with a physiotherapist working on the ward. Responses were documented verbatim. Thematic analysis of the consumer surveys was completed, and results were disseminated to the design team.

Themes included the physical dimensions such as the décor and bathroom space, the placement of technology, the need for privacy, and the need for connection with the outside environment as well as reflections about the staff.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
Consumers should be involved in health environment design because of the perspective they can bring to improving the patient experience. Allied Health staff are ideally placed to advocate for consumer engagement in these processes, and the information generated may help shape not only environmental design, but equipment needs, models of care, and therapy priorities.


Katherine Clarke is a Senior Physiotherapist in Neurosciences at Melbourne Health. She has worked in a variety of neurological settings in Australia and in the United Kingdom. She is currently completely her Masters in Clinical Rehabilitation (Neurological Physiotherapy), and is passionate about consumer engagement in healthcare.