The Significance of a Hug

2 years ago, the Ebola Virus scare swept through America after Thomas Eric Duncan died from the virus in a Dallas, TX hospital. One of Duncan's nurses, Nina Pham, later contracted the virus and was placed in isolation. Panic set in throughout the country as people were quarantined or closely monitored by health officials under the directions of the CDC. 

After 13 days of treatment, Pham was declared Ebola-free and visited President Obama at the White House. Obama greeted Pham with a hug

The hug, which was widely publicized, was the perfect, simple gesture to communicate to all Americans that they were safe from the virus. 

Touch is fundamental to effective communication, the development of loving relationships and our well-being. Hugging, hand-holding and other gestures that include the sense of touch, provide true comfort and connection and have even been proven to improve health. 

CAMA understands how touch impacts social support on healing and plan for it by allocating space and specifying furniture with family in mind. While inviting friends and family into clinical spaces likely increases physical contact, a number of barriers still exist. Culture, fear of infection, and increasingly electronic medical records, all discourage touch.  Rarely do designers explore how the built environment can encourage actual physical touch between patients and loved ones, patients and caregivers, and even from caregiver to caregiver. Yet this subtle shift in thinking may significantly transform the design of healing spaces.

Read our white paper for more information on the healing power of touch.

Liz GuidoneComment