Is it possible to feel at home in a patient room in an intensive care unit? Reflections on environmental aspects in technology-dense environments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper focuses on the patient's perspective and the philosophical underpinnings that support what might be considered optimal for the future design of the intensive care unit (ICU) patient room. It also addresses the question of whether the aspects that support at-homeness are applicable to ICU patient rooms. The concept of “at-homeness” in ICUs is strongly related to privacy and control of space and territory. This study investigates whether the sense of at-homeness can be created in an ICU, when one or more patients share a room. From an interdisciplinary perspective, we critically reflect on various aspects associated with conflicts surrounding the use of ICU patient rooms. Thus, from an architectural and a caring perspective, the significance of space and personal territory in ICU patient rooms is emphasized. Recommendations for further research are suggested. In conclusion, privacy and control are deemed to be essential factors in the stimulation of recovery processes and the promotion of well-being in situations involving severe illness or life-threatening conditions.


External organisations
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • University of Borås
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Sciences
  • Architectural Engineering


  • at-homeness, control, ICU, patient room, space and place, work environment
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12301
JournalNursing Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes