Preferences for Indoor Environmental and Social Comfort of Outpatient Staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic, an Explanatory Study

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Abstract

While the pressure on hospital workers keeps growing, they are generally more dissatisfied with their comfort than other occupants in hospitals or offices. To better understand the comfort of outpatient workers in hospitals, clusters for preferences and perceptions of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and social comfort were identified in a previous study before the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This qualitative study explains the outpatient workers’ main preferences for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation were used. Contextual changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic were included. The questions in the interviews were based on the characteristics of the profiles, corresponding with the clusters. The data were analyzed with content analysis according to the steps defined by Gioia. Seventeen outpatient workers who had been part of the previous study participated. For some outpatient workers differentiation of preferences was illogical due to interrelations and equal importance of the comfort aspects. The main changes in perceptions of comfort due to the pandemic were worries about the indoor air quality and impoverished interaction. Because the occupants’ preferences for comfort can change over time, it was suggested that further development of occupant profiles needs to accommodate changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7353
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • hospitals
  • COVID-19
  • preferences
  • outpatient areas
  • multisensory
  • IEQ
  • semi-structured interviews
  • design
  • health
  • hospital staff

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