This portion of the paper has attempted to provide an introduction to existing research on ambient interventions and the healthcare setting. It seems evident that each ambient element alone and in combination with the others may provide healthcare benefits which complement medical treatment. These benefits, most significantly, include: improved pain and stress management, shorter hospital stays and improved diagnostic results, and overall improved wellbeing for patients and healthcare staff.
Wavecare and Ambient Interventions
Wavecare adheres to the principles of evidence-based design, that is the practice of seeking out the best information available from “research, project evaluations, and from evidence gathered from operations of clients”(McCullugh 2010). The company’s award winning design professionals have worked with healthcare professionals, patients, and other caregivers in healthcare environments across Europe, North America and the Middle East to create tested, effective, complementary treatment. Most recently, Wavecare and Philips, one of the world’s leading providers of equipment to the healthcare sector, have partnered to create an integrated ambient solution for healthcare settings.
Product Manager, Bjorn Wennerwald has worked closely with doctors, nurses and researchers to find the right formula for the images, colors, movements, transitions, light, length etc. that provide the most relaxing and stimulating effect. The programs have been continuously adapted based on feedback. He has worked with awardwinning composers to develop, test, and incorporate music in Wavecare’s portfolio of ambient intervention solutions.
Wennerwald explains the effectiveness of combined audiovisual ambient interventions this way: “The sight is one of our main senses, and a significant portion of the brain processes visual impressions. Sight has the advantage/disadvantage of decoupling(?) when one closes one’s eyes. The sense of hearing, on the other hand, is not mechanicallyselective, so one does not have the ability to filter and sort sound in the same way as images. Combining images and sounds correctly, therefore, serves to amplify the effect of both images and sound.”
In addition to feedback gained during daily contact with Wavecare’s clients, there are several completed and ongoing case studies using Wavecare content as stand alone interventions or as an integral part of its partner Philip’s luminous textiles. The following section will describe some of these studies.
Wavecare case studies
Evidence and Application Musicure and Wavecare
As Wavecare’s first specially designed healthcare interventions, it’s music and music/ video combined solutions ( Musicure and Wavecare) have been tested in an array of studies over
the years with feedback from over 5000 patients in Scandinavia and the United States. These studies, like much of the literature on ambient interventions, point to the use of music and images as part of the therapeutic profile of hospitals. For example, patients undergoing angiography procedures in a Seattle hospital experienced a selfreported decrease in anxiety and increase in wellbeing listening to music, also used in Wavecare, during the procedure (Weeks, BP and Nilsson, U 2011) Similarly, in a study on patients undergoing a medical examination at Århus Univerity Hospital in Denmark, 14 out of 19 reported a positive effect on their wellbeing after experiencing Wavecare’s Muvicure solution before and after the procedure (Niolajsen et al 2009). Numerous other studies have been done on these Wavecare solutions and several others are ongoing. A complete list can be found at the end of this document.
Combining Music, Images, Color and Light
Wavecare ambient develops interventions that employ a combination of nature images, music, color, and in partnership with Philips, has integrated them with dynamic LED light fixtures called Luminous Textiles. The fixtures developed by Wavecare and Philips have been transforming healthcare settings across the globe.These solutions are being used in hospital rooms, maternity wards, examination, and waiting rooms and evidence is accumulating documenting the complementary health benefits they provide The following describes the type of healthcare setting and circumstances under which Wavecare solutions are being tested and how the solution is implemented, by looking at two studies conducted recently.
During a CAT scan or MRI, for example, the patient relinquishes control to virtual strangers.But prior to such a scan and in order to afford the patient some control, the patient may select from several pleasant themes by pressing a touchscreen tablet including Wavecare nature videos.Then, as as the patient enters the imaging suite, the room is transformed with projected thematic images and dynamic colored lighting designed to relax and soothe. Walls appear to fade away. Calming sounds and music envelop the patient.