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Helle Wijk

The health care environment has great significance for people's well-being and quality of life. This is emphasised by Helle Wijk, nurse and senior lecturer in care at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Today Wijk conducts research through intervention studies, for example at retirement homes within the so-called IDA project ("Inflytande, delaktighet och autonomi" – "Influence, participation and autonomy").
– I am primarily interested in the interplay between physical and psychosocial environment. The objective of the intervention studies within the IDA project is to investigate what significance new architectural solutions, furniture, changes in colour and light, as well as the possibility to participate in cultural activities based on one's own preferences, have for the patients' experience of their living environment.

Is the care environment perspective new within healthcare science?
– Partly. There has within healthcare science long existed an interest in culture- and health-oriented ways of working – investigating the effect of activities with song and dance, for example. But the research that today follows the effects of this is characterised by a systematic and cross-disciplinary approach. I am the editor of the topical anthology Vårdmiljöns betydelse (the significance of health care environment), where researchers from both care as well as architecture and design reason around the connection between strengthened physical and psychosocial relations. The Faculty of health care science in Gothenburg also collaborates with Centrum för vårdens arkitektur (centre for health care architecture) at Chalmers University of Technology. Not least, we share an interest in so-called evidence-based design. It is a method to integrate knowledge from various disciplines in order to create measurable relationships between physical environment and its various effects.

Is it important to be able to apply findings in a concrete care situation?
– Definitely. It is one thing to draw up theoretical guidelines for how one should work salutogenically or person-centered, and quite another to convert these into practice. It can also be difficult to apply successful concepts in other contexts. Thus, at the same time it is important to identify transferable success factors and establish concrete instructions.
– When it comes to the possibility of transferring and anchoring a successful concept in another activity, the local culture between the people plays a large role. Therefore, one should not simply focus on the physical environment, but also on the atmosphere. The culture and the atmosphere within an activity has by tradition been experienced as more or less diffuse and difficult to influence. But lately, there has evolved more sophisticated methods to estimate effects of an explicit or implicit health care philosophy and its influence on work, leadership and the staff's attitude.

Personal facts

Position: senior lecturer at the Department of Health and Care Sciences, the Sahlgrenska Academy
Age: 55 years old
Family:
husband and three children (24, 23 and 21 years old)
Driving force: promoting good health
Research interests: research in health care environment as well as systematically evaluating effects of introducing evidence-based knowledge within care and health care
Leisure interests: traveling, preferably combined with some kind of activity such as skiing and sailing

[Intervju by Daniel Brodén and published 2014-02-05]

Contact Information

Centre for Culture and Health

Box 200, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Page Manager: Lovisa Aijmer|Last update: 2/17/2014
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