Käytettävyystekijöiden huomioiminen sairaala-, perusterveys- ja vanhuspalvelurakennusten työtiloissa

Translated title of the contribution: Taking usability elements into account in workspaces of nursing homes and health care facilities

Leena Aalto

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The basis of this dissertation was my interest to find out what are the most important usability elements which has to be considered in designing workspaces of sosial- and healthcare (SH) personnel. At the same time I wanted to cater for our ageing society with special challenges, which are: ageing workers and elderly patients, requirements of space- and energy efficiency, combining different SH activities, old SH properties and indoor air problems. Research about usability of SH spaces is limited, especially from the viewpoint of ageing workers. SH spaces have great significance for both customers and workers, mainly in order to support qualitative care and treatment. In HS spaces there are different kind of user groups and usability of spaces is not the same for different users. Usability as a term is wider than functionality. Functionality is based on functioning technical systems and effective layout. Instead, the essential objective of usability is to take account of users' needs and user experience in the spaces. The summary of this thesis consists of four different publications and aims to identify the key usability elements of SH workspaces. The research material includes the interviews of senior aged residents (N=6), SH workers (N=27) and builders and architects in the SH field (N=56). The research focused on six different SH buildings: two nursing homes, one healthcare center and three hospital facilities. The usability walk-throughs were also conducted in all these buildings. The walk through participants were residents of a senior house (N=8) and SH staff members (N=41). This thesis has been accomplished as a qualitative research joined by different methods and materials. In the first phase of this thesis the main focus was identifying space characteristics which take into account the restrictions of ageing. The second phase concentrates in hospital work environment and usability characteristics affecting there. In the third phase differences between modular and non-modular health care facilities (HCFs) are compared. Use of modular solutions has been increased due to indoor air problems in HCFs, which cause need for quick solutions. The fourth phase gives reason to assume that in renovation HCF project it is possible to get cost savings by increasing functionality of spaces. According to this thesis the most important usability elements concerning SH workspaces are functionality, safety/security, healthiness, orientation, interaction and comfort. The usability framework of SH spaces, which is one of the main results of this thesis, can be used as an aid of discussions and as a tool for space planning, already in the early phase of designing process. As well, it can operate as a checklist along the whole construction process. The framework can also be utilized by real estate developers and management as well as management of SH field.
Translated title of the contributionTaking usability elements into account in workspaces of nursing homes and health care facilities
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Salonen, Heidi, Supervising Professor
  • Salonen, Heidi, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8520-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8521-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • usability
  • social- and healthcare buildings
  • workspaces
  • user experience


Dive into the research topics of 'Taking usability elements into account in workspaces of nursing homes and health care facilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this