Hospitals = Health?

Sometimes I think hospitals seem like the worst possible place to receive healthcare services. There, I said it. To be clear, I don’t have too many ideas on how to make them better environments for healing, short of raising taxes. But that doesn’t mean I can’t offer a critique, misguided thought it may potentially be. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot since visiting a friend recovering from an operation last week.

While it’s fantastic that Australia has a public health system and that my mate could get his operation with a minimum of fuss, I can’t help but think that his recovery might progress better if he wasn’t surrounded by markers of illness and injury. From blue-clothed doctors to tubes of mystery fluids to even more mysterious meds, everything in the environment cues thoughts of sickness. Speaking of which, don’t even get me started on the so-called food. You’d be better off living on instant ramen and peanut butter.

Wanting to find out whether this is something that people are researching from a psychological perspective, I listened to a podcast on the topic. Among other things, they were talking about technological developments in medical devices that are enabling certain treatments to be administered outside of hospitals. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all types of treatments, or even very many of them, but it’s still an interesting concept.

The podcasters kept referring back to these things called portable hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne, apparently, is on the list of places where you can have them shipped, so it was topical for their listeners. I’m not 100% sure what these chambers are, but they’ve got something to do with hyperbaric treatments, which involve exposure to air with a higher concentration of oxygen than normal. Point is, with these portable units, it’s possible for people to have the treatment administered in the comfort of their home.

I’m not really sure what I’m getting at, except that I think home-based treatment options are an area ripe for investigation.