Self-reported health and comfort of outpatient workers in six hospitals

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As hospital workers are generally less satisfied with comfort than patients and limited information was available on health and comfort in outpatient areas, a PhD study was carried out on staff in outpatient areas. The study design, main conclusions and recommendations of this PhD study are discussed. To gain a more representative view of the occupants’ perceptions, IEQ and social comfort were included. Social comfort was studied as a new construct, based on literature of privacy and crowding. A mixed methods approach was selected to justify the occupants’ reallive experience of the physical environment. First, data were collected with building inspection of six hospitals and a questionnaire responded by 556 outpatient workers. Subsequently, a representative sample of them (17) was interviewed with photo elicitation. The survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, the interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were analysed with several techniques to describe comfort and health (descriptive statistics), determine associations of work and building-related aspects with comfort and health (regression analyses), to identify IEQ and social comfort profiles (Two-Step Cluster analysis) and to identify changes in preferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic (content analysis). The different analyses strengthened associations of contextual aspects, such as room types, with health and comfort. Also, the results indicate limited overlap of social comfort and IEQ. Therefore, it is recommended to include room types and social comfort aspects in future studies. Furthermore, as the results show differences in the occupants’ preferences associated with differences in health (IEQ) and activities (social comfort) while their preferences can change in time, it is recommended to develop design strategies for an optimal fit beyond standardized solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCLIMA 2022 The 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherTU Delft OPEN
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress: Towards digitalized, healthy, circular and energy efficient HVAC - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 22 May 202225 May 2022


ConferenceCLIMA 2022 - 14th REHVA HVAC World Congress
Internet address


  • comfort
  • hospitals
  • IEQ
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • staff


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