Building physics interventions for the well-being of frail elderly

Supervisor:                   Prof. dr. H.S.M. Kort, Professor Demand- Driven Care
Research team:            E.R.C.M. Huisman MSc en N.H.A.M van Hout MSc
Project management:   E.R.C.M. Huisman MSc
Project assistant:          Maaike Smole


Within the world of healthcare the effects of the physical environment on the healing process and well-being have been proved increasingly relevant for patients, elderly and their families as well as for healthcare staff. Besides, it is a growing concern among healthcare providers, environmental psychologist, consultants, installers, and architects. These are concerns of traditional, institutionally designed healthcare facilities in relation to the well-being of patients in hospitals as well as the quality of life of frail elderly in nursing homes. A well-known concept in relation to the well-being of patients is ‘healing environment’. Huisman et al. (2012) defined a healing environment as a place where the interaction between patient and staff produces positive health outcomes within the physical environment. Life Enrichment Care is a concept based on healing environment and focuses on the well-being and quality of life of frail elderly. Nowadays, the guidelines for light, acoustics and thermal comfort are grounded on an average  human being. However, there are no specific guidelines for frail elderly. The study of Sinoo (2011) shows there is insufficient light in nursing homes. Moreover, most of the residents of nursing home had an eye impairment. On the other hand nursing homes have ambition to distinguish themselves in provided care, a sustainable environment and to be a good employer. They strive to give meaning to the quality of life of their frail elderly. The so-called Life Enrichment Care. 


The project ‘Life enrichment care’ aims to enhance the physical environment conditions in order to support professionals in healthcare facilities and to improve the quality of life of the residents.

Target group

The project focuses primarily on:

  • Healthcare professionals;
  • Building engineers and installers;
  • Facility managers;
  • Consultants;
  • Students, lecturers and researchers.

Furthermore, the project focuses on the residents of nursing homes and their family as well.  


The program of the project consists of three sub-projects.

  1. Literature study;
  2. Interventions studies to test the effectiveness, validity and reliability of  life enrichmentcare;
  3. To create a Mock-Up. A Mock-Up can be defined as a test environment where outcomes can be discussed.

Intended output

The BEZO-project aims to combine knowledge and expertise in the field of ‘life enrichment care’. The project will be translate this knowledge to building design, institutions, services and to care processes related to ‘life enrichment care’ as well. The knowledge and expertise will be gathered and combined in the following products:

  • With the knowledge and experience of the project new (study and work) materials will be developed to implemented in the programmes of University of applied sciences as well as the University of Technology Eindhoven;
  • Digital newsletter, website;
  • Mock-Up to show the outcomes of the project.

Student participation

Several students participate in this project. The students come from different faculties of the University of Applied Science Utrecht. These faculties are: Faculty of Healthcare and Faculty of Science and Technology. Students participate in the following sub-projects:

  • Minor Public Health Engineering;
  • Graduation projects;
  • Research projects.

Project partners

Healthcare organisations: WZH, Woonzorgcentra Haaglanden, Florence, Laurens, Warande;

Universities: University of Applies Science Utrecht, Faculty of Health Care, Research center of Innovation in Healthcare, University of Applies Science Rotterdam, Research center of Innovation in Healthcare, University of Technology Eindhoven, Department of the Built Environment, Unit Building Performance and Services;

Other: Bartiméus, SWIZ, TNO Innovation of Life, Level Acoustics, IMSM.

The project Life Enrichment Care
(number of registration: 2012-14-38P)
is financed by SIA RAAK.