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Understanding the relationship between rural healthcare facilities and wellbeing of patients : a proposed healing centre in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

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The poor condition of public healthcare facilities in rural areas, negatively affects the well being of patients. These facilities are designed to be service efficient as opposed to nurturing patients.Therefore, this dissertation is aimed at understanding existing challenges that affect patient well being. In addition, it will seek to outline strategies of improving patient well being, which will inform the design of a new model of public healthcare facility in rural KwaZulu-Natal. The study uses a Qualitative methodology, with an exploratory approach. The design of the study includes primary research methods in the form of case studies, observations, photographs,sketches and ten interviews of a purposive sample of past patients and staff. In addition, it includes secondary research methods in the form of library studies and precedent studies. The research was carried out at Appelsbosch Hospital, Ozwathini, KwaZulu-Natal and Umphumulo Hospital, Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal. The data was examined through exploratory methods of analysis which was informed by the recurrent issues/themes, research objectives and questions. In addition, the analysis of data will be done through aspects of the theoretical framework informed by primary theories or concepts, in the context of the topic and the sub-topic. The theories that were used to examine the literature are Genius Loci, Gestalt Theory and Social Construct Theory. These theories address the social and architectural responses within the context of patient well-being within public healthcare facilities in rural areas. The findings show that an environment that improves patients well-being are spaces within a physical setting designed to be nurturing. It was also revealed that, aspects of the built and natural environments such as: natural lighting, natural ventilation, open green spaces and healing gardens need to be considered in the design of an environment that improves patient well-being. Natural ventilation also reduces the transmission of airborne disease. The findings show that the natural environment needs to be integrated with the built environment. Views through openings of the therapeutic landscape and open green spaces provide positive distractions for patients. In addition, the findings reveal that design strategies in hospital design are context and climate specific, in order to achieve passive design principles for sustainability.


Master of Architecture. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2015.


Theses--Architecture., Health facilities--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Patients., Rural health services.