E-Cigarette – A Safer Substitute to Smoking?

I am not a smoker, so I sat comfortably on a chair resting my arms on the arm rest and try to analyze how chain smokers can ever get out from the dilemma of smoking cigarette. I take a mild drag as I watch people exhale white wafts round their face, wondering how many nicotine they save from years of smoking.

I wonder how celebrities made through like Audrey Hepburn when she smoke, yet she isn’t. Many times I have been wondering what an e-cigarette is and wonder if it really a solution to safer smoking. E-cigarette is not a smoke at all, but they resemble like smoke. This is a perfect solution if you want to quit smoking but cannot.

E-cigarette is battery powered device or I would say an electronic device to help you get free from nicotine yet doesn’t have the stamina to quit smoking. Its physical appearance looks like a real cigarette. The tip of e-cigarette glows red just like when you lit one real cigarette. It even emits smoke or produces puffs but it is not burning and so you can use it anywhere you are even in those places where smoking cigarette is banned.

Smokers definitely enjoy smoking but the nicotine it gives is another story. E-cigarette allows anyone to enjoy the pleasure of smoking less the guilt of bad effect it does to our body. The actual effect of smoking simply puts it to physical act, like when you want to have a cigarette in your hand always.

Regardless of the pleasure it gives, smoking is still and will always be harmful to health, but e-cigarette is free from this side effect and definitely harmless. The world is full of bad elements, for this reason the public in general has covered a propaganda regarding the effect of smoking cigarette to the body, particularly our lungs.

Because of these information, a lot of smokers wanted to quit their bad habit but the question is, how will they do that when addiction have almost gotten into their nerves. E-cigarette is a break through to this kind of problem most cigarette smokers are facing and this breakthrough has begun to increase popularity on e-cigarette.

What makes it appealing to smokers is the fact that it does not contain harmful ingredients than an ordinary cigarette. It does not produce nicotine and most importantly it is free from carcinogens. It is also free from second hand smoke, which means you can use it even in front of your co-workers or even in front of a baby.

In addition, because it does not produce ash, e-cigarette is considered to be environmental friendly. What e-cigarette does is it provides smokers with a taste that is similar to real cigarette and so cigarette smokers still feel the act of smoking real cigarette when in fact they are not smoking cigarette at all. For this reason you can use it anywhere, even in private places like air conditioned room and states were cigarette is prohibited.

Woodstock CT Historic Homes: Roseland Cottage

Beautifully situated across from the Woodstock town green is Roseland Cottage built in 1846 by Henry Bowen with its colorful array of flower gardens. A classic example of the Gothic Revival architecture that was just becoming popular in the mid 19th century characterized by a steep roof line crowned with ornamented chimney pots, intricately detailed gables overhanging diamond leaded window. The siding has always been painted in a vibrant coral pink that has given the cottage its popular name as the “Pink House.”

Henry Bowen grew up in Woodstock and built a successful dry goods business in New York City specializing in silks. He and his wife Lucy enjoyed summers away from the city and Roseland Cottage was their country house where they entertained friends and powerful political connections including four United States Presidents. Henry and Lucy Bowen had ten children and Woodstock with its rural atmosphere and Henry’s long family history rooted in the area was the perfect retreat from the summer heat and congestion of the city.

Joseph C. Wells was the architect commissioned by Bowen in 1845 to design the 6,000 square Foot Gothic Revival Cottage for his growing family. The layout and design were deeply influenced by the principles of Andrew Jackson Downing who was a leading 19th Century landscape architect. The grounds include a garden house, carriage barn, an icehouse and aviary, but most notably an extensive 3,000 square foot boxwood parterre garden.

After 1850 when the Bowens began spending each summer in Woodstock, they planted the garden that graces the front of the cottage. It’s comprised of 600 yards of boxwood hedge surrounding twenty-one beds of spectacular annual and perennial flowers that have been a central feature of the cottage and Woodstock ever since.

According to family legend, Roseland Cottage was named after the family’s favorite flower, the rose, and it has always been painted pink. A scientific analysis by Historic New England identified thirteen shades of pink in the layers of paint over 160 years with the current coral pink being the color in the 1880’s that’s consistent with other decorative details in the restoration of the house.

Bowen was a political activist, an abolitionist and early supporter of the Republican Party which was the liberal party at the time that fielded the first abolitionist presidential platform in 1856. His dry goods business went bankrupt leading up to the Civil War due to his anti-slavery activism which caused irreconcilable differences with his Southern clients. He refused to support the Fugitive Slave Law and told Southern clients they could “Buy my goods – not my principles.”

After his business failed, he co-founded a successful insurance company, as well as founding and becoming editor of a popular anti-slavery newspaper, The Independent. With this newspaper, he became an important player in politics as the Republican Party grew stronger throughout the later part of the 19th Century.

Lucy Bowen tragically died from complications of giving birth to their tenth child in 1863. Henry remarried two years later Ellen Holt who became a loving mother to his children, and gave him a son. As his family continued to grow and his children had grandchildren, Bowen expanded Roseland Cottage and purchased lots surrounding the cottage until in 1870 the property was approximately six acres.

Beginning in 1870, Henry Bowen began hosting Fourth of July Independence Day parties as a way of promoting patriotism that drew hundreds of distinguished guests and thousands of attendees every year for the next twenty-five years. Four United States Presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley took part in these festivities.

The Fourth of July parties eventually grew to be so big that Bowen purchased sixty-acres in Woodstock to develop a public park to host the celebrations. Roseland Park featured a windmill that pumped water from the lake into 3 marble fountains with statues, there were fields of hitching posts for the “parking” of the horses that people rode in on.

It had a two-story bathing shed that were changing room where you could rent a woolen bathing costume weighed 20 lbs when wet, with a band-stand above it where bands would play music to the gathered picnickers. Roseland Park was first opened in 1876 during the centennial celebrations and in keeping with Bowen’s will has been open to the public ever since.

Roseland Cottage is open to the public between June 1 and October 15. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992, and widely regarded as one of the best preserved examples of Gothic Revival architecture in America makes Roseland Cottage one of Woodstock, Connecticut’s most important historic homes.

What New Drivers Need to Know About Car Insurance

If you are a new driver, there are several things that you will need to know about car insurance. The most basic rule though, is that if you are going to drive a car, you must carry some form of coverage. This is just one fact you need to know pertaining to auto insurance. Listed below are several more things you will need to know as well.

Locating a Provider

First of all, in the past, you would have to sort through page upon page of ads in your local yellow pages to locate insurance providers in your area. Then, you had to phone them one by one to get quotes. However, this is no longer the case. The Internet has made locating insurance companies extremely easy.

You simply need to choose one of the many car insurance comparison websites available and type in some basic information pertaining to you and your car. The site will then match you with several providers in your area. At this point, you can choose to have these companies phone you, email you or both.

Comparing Coverage and Rates

The next thing you must know about auto insurance is how important it is to compare the coverage and rates of several providers before you choose one. Different companies offer varying rates, coverage and even discounts. With that said, you should always contact the providers in your area and find out more about them before you choose to purchase a policy.

When it comes to discounts, if you search long enough, you are sure to find some valuable ones that will help reduce your insurance premiums. Many insurance providers offer attractive discounts in an effort to gain clients. Some of the discounts that are commonly offered include new drivers, senior citizens, excellent students, safe-driving courses, air bags, safety equipment and good driving histories.

Raising Your Deductible

In addition to discounts, there are many other ways you can reduce your insurance premiums. One way is to opt for a higher deductible. This is a matter of choice, and you should think this through carefully before making a decision. While a high deductible will lower your monthly premiums, you may have to pay more should you become involved in an accident.

Liability or Full Coverage?

Another thing you need to know about car insurance is the difference between liability and full coverage. Liability is the minimum coverage that you can purchase, and it will provide compensation to other drivers in the case of accidents if you are at fault. However, it will not pay for any damage to your car or injuries to you or your passengers.

Full coverage is much more expensive than liability but there are many benefits to this type of coverage. The best thing about full coverage though, is that it not only will pay for the other driver’s damages and injuries, but it will pay for yours as well. In many cases, it will also cover such things as theft and damage to your car due to weather conditions or falling objects.

These are just a few things that new drivers need to know about car insurance. If you are a new driver, the above information can help steer you in the right direction when choosing a policy to suit your needs. However, always remember that you should compare the rates and coverage of several providers before choosing one.

What Should You Ask Your Contractor About Your Bathroom Remodel?

One of the best ways to make a noticeable change in your entire home is to remodel one or more of your bathrooms. Although the process may seem a little intimidating at first, you can make everything go as smoothly as possible by asking the right questions before you get started. If you want to avoid unnecessary interruptions and confusions throughout the process, you will to make a list of important points to discuss with your contractor before they even start the job. Here are a few things that you should talk about:

What Type of Remodel Do you Want?

Before you even pick up the phone to start shopping for a contractor, think about what type of remodel that you want. A simple remodel can consist of a new coat of paint and new fixtures, while a complete bathroom overhaul is much more extensive. Decide how extensive you want your remodel to be, determine your budget and then call your contractor to talk about the specifics. They will be able to help guide you through the process from there.

How Much Will It Cost?

While this is a very important aspect of conducting a remodel, you should always make sure to balance cost with the quality of your contractor. You will want to choose someone who is reliable, skilled and has extensive experience working with bathroom remodels. That being said, make sure that you talk with your chosen bathroom remodeling company about the total cost of the project. They should be able to provide you with at least a very close estimate to what the total cost should be. Some will even provide you with a firm bid after doing a full assessment. Always be up front with how much you have to spend on any given project, so that you can be on the same page from start to finish.

How Long Will It Take?

In addition to a cost estimate, you should also ask your builder for a time estimate. While a simple bathroom remodel could take just a few hours, a total overhaul could take several weeks. Because the bathroom is a very important room in your home, you will want to have a fairly clear idea of how long it will be until you can use it again. After you have an idea of how long it will take, come up with a plan to make sharing the other bathroom or bathrooms in your home much easier while you remodel.

In the end, completing a hassle free bathroom remodel relies on constant, clear and honest communication from both you and your contractor. To make sure that you are getting what you want, at a price within your budget, you must communicate these needs to them. Because your bathroom is such an important room in your home, you can’t afford to be vague, unsure or silent about any of the aspects of the remodel. If you follow these tips, and work closely with your chosen remodeling expert, you can expect a bathroom remodel that meets your expectations from start to finish.

Dental Insurance And Individual Health Plans

You could rarely find and buy individual health plans that also cover dental hygiene. There is useful information that people should know particularly if they consider buying the policies separately.

It is estimated that about 45 million Americans currently don’t own any dental insurance policy. Most non-elderly citizens who own individual health plans also own dental hygiene policies. However, majority of people who buy health insurance plans by themselves do not have dental insurance. This data is based on a report released by Centers for Disease Manage and Prevention.

While individual health plans cover several added services like basic emergency care in addition to costs of prescription drugs, they logically are not necessary to include coverage for adult oral care. Nevertheless, for health insurance policies for children, dental services are needed.

In March 2010, reforms to the healthcare insurance coverage were set. However, despite the push exerted through many advocates, that bill did not include the wider dental component. Supporters and proponents of the reform argued that each health plans already cover costs for other pressing health problems like diabetes and heart diseases.

About 75% of 172 million Americans under age 65 years (who own private health insurance plans) have dental insurance plans as well. Their employers mostly supply the health insurances. Among those with separate dental protection, more than a quarter of them have comprehensive plans with dental insurance while one fourth have stand-alone plans. Some have both.

About 90 million Americans own individual health plans through Medicaid and Medicare insurance, which both do not offer dental care programs for adults. There is no figure available regarding public health insurance plans. Medicaid shoulders dental take care of people under 21 years old. The insurer currently serves up to 45 million people of the low-income group. However, such patients complain about troubles to find accredited dentists.

A separate government-sponsored program provides dental hygiene, albeit limited. It is the Children’s Health Insurance coverage Program. As for the older people, they could always choose to purchase separate dental care policies from health insurance companies.

Do you look for health insurers that also offer dental hygiene plans? Data from the Association for Health Insurance Plans reveal that we now have only a few insurers that do so. Individuals include Cigna Corp, Aetna Inc, Assurant Inc, Humana Inc, as well as UnitedHealth Group Inc. The association represents up to 80 of overall dental insurance plans in america. There are also health insurance plans that offer dental coverage included in health policies. They include several and specific programs from MetLife, Principal Financial Group Inc, and Azure Cross Blue Shield Association.

Experts advise people to purchase dental care insurance policies even if they currently own individual healthcare plans. Purchasing separate plans is more advisable especially because it might be very hard, if not impossible, to find and purchase health insurance policies that also include dental protection.

Online Shopping for Clothes: Tips and Facts

Nowadays online shopping for fashionable clothes has become very popular all over the world. It seems that online shopping for apparel is much more convenient. Consumers have this great opportunity to browse an international clothing market at the simple click of a button.

Undoubtedly, online stores for clothes have become the new hit. Today you can buy everything from an e-store – from the socks and the underwear, through women and men tops to the sportswear and the coats, including fashion accessories such as hats, bags, you name it. You can shop while drinking your coffee at home, during your break at the office, at any time, at any place. You had a busy day at work and it’s already late in the day, and you have a party approaching – the perfect solution is to lounge on your couch and start browsing for online shop offering clothes that match your style. Also, many e-shops make big season sales and discounts for holidays.

Yet with all the advantages of the online shopping for clothes, there are some flaws. You are not able to try out your clothes to see if they fit you, you can’t feel the fabric either. I am offering you some easy-to-follow tips for a successful online shopping inspired by the many online shopping woes of customers around the world.

  1. Look at the return policy
  2. Before you buy your clothes online, read the return policy. Loyal clothing e-shops offer returns. Mistakes happen and it is always good idea to have a backup plan. Make sure that if it turns out that you need a different size, or you have changed your opinion and you want to buy something else, you can return your purchase to change it.

  3. Chart sizes
  4. Take into consideration that different countries have different sizes. Many customers underestimate this fact. When you are choosing your size, make sure you choose the right one. Most online shops for clothes offer chart size legend where you can see in detail what measures stand for each size number.

  5. Fabric content
  6. Since you cannot feel the materials of the clothes, read the fabric content. All good online clothing shops note the fabric content of each item in detail. Do not rely on an image to buy your clothing online. You are more likely to be unfortunate surprised with your choice.

  7. Research your online clothing store before buying from it
  8. There are clothing e-retailers that are quite disloyal. Often you pay for something that turns out to be different from what you have expected. Sometimes purchases take a lot longer time to arrive etc. You can find a lot of fashion forums, blogs about apparel and social networks where you can search for a loyal clothing e-store like SpiralFashion.com that offers trendy apparel.

Online shopping for clothes saves time and money, but do it the right way. Shop reasonably.

Best Over the Counter Age Spot Remover

Over the counter age spot remover is one of the hottest selling products in the anti aging skin care market, because nobody wants to walk around with highly visible indicators of age upon their skin. These marks do not really have anything to do with your physical age however, as they are simply products of extended exposure to the sun. It has been pounded into the psyche they are signs of a person advancing into the latter stages of their life due to the timing of their appearance.

Nobody wants to feel as though they are slipping into decline, and though it embarrasses sufferers to have other see them this way it does more damage so as the way that the person sees themselves. Companies have taken advantage of the psychological implications of the development of this harmless hyperpigmentation by flooding the marked with skin whitening products.

What most over the counter age spot remover contains in order to help you reduce the random overproduction of melanin are compounds that I would not advise you to let anywhere near your skin. While effective in slowly removing the discoloration marking your skin, these compounds are not healthy at all. They could in fact take a serious toll on your health, and lightening your skin is simply not worth that.

One ingredient popular for lightening the skin is hydroquinone, which is banned in Europe and may soon be elsewhere as well. Hydroquinone is suspected to potentially cause an increased rate of tumors, mononuclear cell leukemia, and heptocellular and renal tube cell adenomas. It can also cause a disfiguring disease in which blue-black pigments are deposited in your skin.

Other over the counter age spot remover features mercury (II) chloride and ammoniated mercury as the primary melanin reducers. All forms of mercury are highly toxic to humans, and the accumulation of these compounds in your system due to repeated application of the formula can make you incredibly ill. Let me tell you about the only safe option you have for reducing the melanin content of your skin.

The safest and most effective over the counter age spot remover features Extrapone nutgrass root extract, which is proven to reduce melanin by as much as 40%. This eliminates the spots that you have, prevents new ones from forming, and the all Uncategorized ingredients heal your skin and make you look younger. This is the only skin whitening formula that I would consider using.

Car Rentals is a Must For Every Traveler

The Gold Coast is an ideal holiday destination for you and your family. It has everything that can make your holiday down under a memorable one. The Gold coast is arguably the best tourist destination in Australia with almost 10 million tourists enjoying its fabulous surf beaches, unparalleled theme parks and dense rainforests every year.

The most visited tourist spot in the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise. The place offers you with many entertainment options to explore. You can indulge in various exciting activities like surfing, jet skiing, fishing and parasailing during your trip to Surfers Paradise. Apart from these, Surfers paradise is also well known for its active nightlife and unmatched facilities for beach volleyball, golf and bungee jumping.

Along with the surfers paradise, you will find many other tourist attractions. The American Style Theme Parks are few of them. These parks have in stored some of the most exciting options for you and your family. Dreamworld, Movieworld and Wet n’ Wild are the three most famous theme parks in Gold Coast. While planning a trip to these parks, make sure that you have ample time in your hand because these parks are too big and too wonderful to be done with in a single day.

Gold coast is also the home of some of the most incredible architectural masterpieces. The Q1 Building (world’s tallest residential building), Gold Coast Arts Centre, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum are the finest examples. You can’t even afford to miss out the attractions like Tropical Fruit Farm, Sea World and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, during your trip to Gold Coast.

Car rentals gold coast is one of the ways to witness and admire the real beauty of all the tourist attractions. By renting a car, you can visit all these places at your own will. There are many car rentals options that are available for you in Gold Coast. You can go for one way car rental plan, which includes picking the car up from one place and dropping it to the other location. Generally, this plan is preferred by people, who hire cars between airport locations. Another one can be two way rental, which is normally taken up by tourists.

During peak seasons, you might also get some bonus or special offers on your car rental plan. In spite of the plan you choose, make sure that you negotiate with the car rental company.

After all, at the end of the day, it is your money!

Planning and Design of Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

Behavioral Healthcare Facilities: The Current State of Design

In keeping with most districts of healthcare, the marketplace has seen a boom in the construction of Behavioral Healthcare facilities. Contributing to this increase is the paradigm shift in the way society views mental illness. Society is placing a heavier value on the need to treat people with serious addictions such as alcohol, prescription and elicit drugs. A large percentage of people suffering from behavioral disorders are afflicted with both mental and addictive behaviors, and most will re-enter communities and either become contributors or violators.

These very specialized facilities do not typically yield the attention from today’s top healthcare designers and their quantity accounts for a small fraction of healthcare construction. However, Behavioral Healthcare projects are increasing in number and are being designed by some very prominent architectural firms such as Cannon Design and Architecture Plus. Many are creating state-of-the-art, award-winning contemporary facilities that defy what most of us believe Behavioral Healthcare design to be.

Changing the Way We Design Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

As with all good planners and designers, A+D (along with facility experts) are reviewing the direct needs of patient and staff while reflecting on how new medicine and modern design can foster patient healing rates, reduce environmental stress, and increase safety. This is changing the face of treatment and outcome by giving the practitioner more time to treat because they require less time and resources to “manage” disruptive patient populations.

The face of Behavioral Healthcare is quickly changing. No longer are these facilities designed to warehouse patients indefinitely. And society’s expectations have changed. Patients are often treated with the belief that they can return to their community and be a contributor to society. According to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), depending on the severity of illness, the average length of stay in a Behavioral Healthcare facility is only 9.6 days.

What has changed?

Jaques Laurence Black, AIA, president and principal of New York City-based daSILVA Architects, states that there are two primary reasons for the shortened admission period:

1. Introduction of modern psychotropic drugs that greatly speed recovery

2. Pressures from insurance companies to get patients out of expensive modes of care

To meet these challenges, healthcare professionals are finding it very difficult to effectively treat patients within the walls of antiquated, rapidly deteriorating mental facilities. A great percentage of these facilities were built between 1908 and 1928 and were designed for psychiatric needs that were principled in the belief to “store” not to “rehabilitate.”

Also impacting the need for Behavioral Healthcare construction is the reluctance of acute-care facilities to provide mental health level services for psychiatric or addiction patients. They recognize that patient groups suffering from behavioral disorders have unique health needs, all of which need to be handled and treated only by very experienced healthcare professionals. This patient population also requires a heightened level of security. Self-harm and injuring staff and other patients are major concerns.

The Report of the Surgeon General: “Epidemiology of Mental Illness” also reports that within a given year about 20% of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and 5.4% suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI ) – defined as bipolar, panic, obsessive-compulsive, personality, and depression disorders and schizophrenia. It is also believed 6% of Americans suffer from addiction disorders, a statistic that is separate from individuals who suffer from both mental and addiction disorders. Within a given year it is believed that over one-quarter of America’s population warrants levels of mental clinical care. Even if these statistics were cut in half, it cannot be denied as a serious societal issue.

With a growing population, effectively designing in accordance with such measures is at the heart of public health.

Understanding the Complexity of Behavioral Healthcare Design

Therefore, like Corrections, leading planners and designers specializing in Behavioral Healthcare are delving deeper to better understand the complexity of issues and to be the activist to design facilities that promote treatment and healing – and a safer community.

The following is a list of key design variables that are being studied and implemented:

1. Right Sizing

2. Humanizing Materials and Color

3. Staff-Focused Amneties and Happiness

4. Security and Safety

5. Therapeutic Design Tenants

Right-sizing

Today’s Behavioral Healthcare facilities are often one-story single buildings within a campus size. Often debated by Clients due to costs, this design preference is driven by the demand for Uncategorized light, window views to nature for all patient areas, and outdoor open-air gardens “wrapped” within. All of this provides soothing qualities to the patient, reduces their anxieties, counteracts disruptive conduct and helps to reduce staff stress.

“When you look at the program mix in these buildings, there’s a high demand for perimeter because there are a lot of rooms that need Uncategorized light. Offices, classrooms, dining areas, community rooms, and patient rooms all demand Uncategorized light, so you end up with a tremendous amount of exterior wall, and it forces the building to have a very large footprint.” – James Kent Muirhead, AIA, associate principal at Cannon Design in Baltimore

These design principles are also believed to improve staff work conditions. Unlike a multi-story complex, at any moment staff can walk outdoors and access nature, free from visual barriers, and within a building that more accurately reflects building types that both patients and staff would encounter in their communities.

In addition to right-sizing for the overall building footprint, is right-sizing for internal patient and staff support area. Similar to the move we have seen in Corrections to de-centralize support spaces, Behavioral Healthcare is moving to decentralized nursing/patient units called “neighborhoods.” With mental health facilities there is a large concern with distances and space adjacencies in relation to the patient room and patient support areas such as treatment and social spaces. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, Troy, NY, advocates neighborhoods that average 24-30 beds arranged in sub-clusters, called “houses”, of 8-10 beds. Thus, each neighborhood consists of three houses. Often these layouts will include a common area where patients congregate and socialize, with a separate quiet room so patients can elect to avoid active, crowded areas. In addition Pitts states, “There’s a move away from central dining facilities. So, while facilities will still have a central kitchen, it’s a whole lot easier moving food than it is patients.” However, it is important for the facility to mimic normal outside daily life routines, so patients are encouraged to frequently leave their neighborhoods to attend treatment sessions, and outdoor courtyards.

Humanizing Materials & Color

In all facilities that play a role in rehabilitation, design strives to create spaces that humanize, calm, and relax. Behavioral Healthcare patients need to feel that they are in familiar surroundings; therefore, the architectural vocabulary should feel comfortable and normal. Since these facilities are about rehabilitation (when possible) and encouraging patients to merge back into society, the facility should feel like an extension of the community. Their spaces should reflect the nature and architecture of the surrounding region and thus so, no two facilities should look too much alike.

“Our a
pproach to designing these facilities is to view the facility as an extension of the community where patients will end up when they’re released. Interior finishes also depend on geography because you want to replicate the environment patients are used to. You want to de-stigmatize the facility as much as possible.” – Tim Rommel, AIA, ACHA, OAA, principal with Cannon Design in Buffalo, NY.

Therefore, materials and colors within these spaces want to feel familiar to one’s region and everyday life. To soothe the psyche and rehabilitate, they want to feel soft and comfortable, yet visually stimulating. An interior that is overly neutral or hard in appearance is not appropriate. Materials should reduce noise, and colors should lift the spirit. This can help to create an environment in which the patient can learn, socialize, and be productive while easing anxieties, delivering dignity, and modifying behavior. As stated previously, behavioral studies advise the use of softer interior materials-like carpeting, wood doors and tile. Doing so translates directly to both patient and staff well-being, particularly staff safety, and makes for a nicer place to work. In addition, staff have more resources to “treat” instead of manage heated situations. When staff experiences are eased and satisfied, morale is boosted and life-saving rules and policies are more likely to be enforced.

Staff-Focused Amenities & Happiness

While reducing staff stress and fatigue through a healing supportive environment seems like an obvious goal, there are relatively few studies that have dealt with this issue in any detail. More attention has been given to patient outcomes. However, many leading hospitals that have adopted therapeutic tenants into their newly built environments have seen vast improvement through their “business matrixes” and financial reporting.

In one example, the Mayo Clinic, a national leader in implementing healing design in its facilities, has reported a reduction of nursing turnover from a national annual average of 20% to an annual 3%-4%. In another example, when Bronson Methodist Hospital incorporated evidence-based design into its new 343-bed hospital, they cited their 19%-20% nurse turnover rate dramatically dropped to 5%.

Now, both the Mayo Clinic and Bronson Methodist Hospital have had to initiate a waiting list for nursing staff seeking positions. This converts to better-trained and qualified staff, and a reduced error rate. Therefore, more health facilities are investing in staff support areas such as lounges, changing rooms, and temporary sleep rooms. Within these staff spaces and in the hospital throughout, facilities are also recognizing the need for upgrade materials, better day lighting, and an interesting use of color: One soon realizes that the need of patients and staff are interwoven, each impacting positively or negatively the other.

Security & Safety

Without debate, self harm and harm to staff is one of the biggest concerns mental health facilities manage. Often the biggest safety and security concern is the damage patients can do to themselves. “There are three rules I had drummed in me,” says Mark Hanchar; Director of Preconstruction Services for Gilbane Building Company, Providence, R.I. “First, there can’t be any way for people to hang themselves. Second, there can be no way for them to create weapons. Third, you must eliminate things that can be thrown.” Hanchar says that the typical facility is, “a hospital with medium-security prison construction.” This means shatter proof glass, solid surface countertops (laminate can be peeled apart), stainless steel toilets and sinks (porcelain can shatter), push pull door latches and furniture that cannot be pulled apart and used as a weapon. These are just to name a few.

Additionally, removing barriers between patients and nursing staff is a safety consideration. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, says what may be counter-intuitive for safety precautions, “Glass walls around nursing stations just aggravate the patients.” Removing glass or lowering it at nursing stations so patients can feel a more human connection to nurses often calms patients. There is also discussion of removing nursing stations altogether; decentralizing and placing these care needs directly into the clinical neighborhoods and community spaces. Pitt says, “The view is that [nursing staff] need to be out there treating their patients.”

Therapeutic Design Tenants

As medicine is increasingly moving towards “evidence-based” medicine, where clinical choices are informed by research, healthcare design is increasingly guided by research linking the physical environment directly to patient and staff outcomes. Research teams from Texas A&M and Georgia Tech sifted through thousands of scientific articles and identified more than 600 – most from top peer-reviewed journals – to quantify how hospital design can play a direct role in clinical outcomes.

The research teams uncovered a large body of evidence that demonstrates design features such as increased day-lighting, access to nature, reduced noise and increased patient control helped reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase staff effectiveness – all of which promote healing rates and save facilities cost. Therefore, improving physical settings can be a critical tool in making hospitals more safe, more healing, and better places to work.

Today’s therapeutic spaces have been defined to excel in 3 categories:

1. Provide clinical excellence in the treatment of the body

2. Meet the psycho-social needs of patients, families, and staff

3. Produce measurable positive patient outcomes and staff effectiveness

Considering the cost of treating mental illness, which is exceedingly high, and wanting facilities to have effective outcomes, a further practice of incorporating therapeutic design is increasing. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIM H) approximated in 2008 that serious mental illnesses (SMI ), costs the nation $193 billion annually in lost wages. The indirect costs are impossible to estimate.

The estimated direct cost to clinically treat is approximately $70 billion annually and another $12 billion spent towards substance abuse disorders. In addition to the increased need of care and the boom in Behavioral Healthcare construction, it becomes an obligation to make certain that we as facility managers, architects, designers and manufacturers therapeutically plan and design these facilities.

Notably, in 2004, “The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital for the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity,” published by Roger Ulrich P.H.D., of Texas A&M University, was released. In a culmination of evidence-based research, research teams found five design principles that contributed significantly to achieving therapeutic design goals.

The report indicates five key factors that are essential for the psychological well-being of patients, families and staff, including:

1. Access to Nature

2. Provide Positive Distractions

3. Provide Social Support Spaces

4. Give a Sense of Control

5. Reduce or eliminate environmental stress

Access to Nature

Studies indicate that nature might have the most powerful impact to help patient outcomes and staff effectiveness. Nature can be literal or figurative – Uncategorized light, water walls, views to nature, large prints of botanicals and geography, materials that indicate nature and most importantly, stimulating color that evokes nature. Several studies strongly support that access to nature such as day-lighting and appropriate colorations can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, sleep, circadian rest-activity rhythms, as well as length of stay in demented patients and persons with seasonal affective disorders (SAD).

These and related studies continue to affirm the powerful impact of Uncategorized elements on patient recovery and stress reduction. Thus, it is clea
r that interior designs which integrate Uncategorized elements can create a more relaxing, therapeutic environment that benefits both patients and staff.

Positive Distractions

These are a small set of environmental features that provide the patient and family a positive diversion from “the difficult” and, in doing so, also negate an institutional feel. These can be views to nature, water walls, artwork, super imposed graphics, sculpture, music – and ideally all of these want to be focused on nature and, when applicable, an interesting use of color. Therapeutic environments that provide such patient-centered features can empower patients and families, but also increase their confidence in the facility and staff. This helps with open lines of communication between patient and caregiver.

Social Support Spaces

These are spaces designed partially for the patient but mainly for the comfort and socialization of family members and friends of the patient; therefore, family lounges, resource libraries, chapels, sleep rooms and consult rooms all play a role. When family and friends play a key role in a patient’s healing, these spaces encourage families to play an active role in the rehabilitation process.

Sense of Control

In times when patients and family feel out of control, it is very healing for the facility design and staff to provide it back when appropriate. Although, this cannot always be done suitably in mental healthcare facilities. However, when applicable, these design features include optional lighting choices, architectural way-finding, resource libraries, enhanced food menus, private patient rooms and

optional areas to reside in. A few well-appointed studies in psychiatric wards and nursing homes have found that optional choices of moveable seating in dining areas enhanced social interaction and improved eating disorders. When patients feel partially in control of their healing program and that the building features are focused to them, an increased confidence of the quality of care enters and tensions lower.

As with all therapeutic design, this allows the caregiver to use their resources healing in lieu of “managing” patient populations.

Reduce or Eliminate Environmental Stress

Noise level measurements show that hospital wards can be excessively noisy places resulting in negative effects on patient outcomes. The continuous background noise produced by medical equipment and staff voices often exceeds the level of a busy restaurant. Peak noise periods (shift changes, equipment alarms, paging systems, telephones, bedrails, trolleys, and certain medical equipment like portable xray machines are comparable to walking next to a busy highway when a motorcycle or large truck passes.

Several studies have focused on infants in NIC Us, finding that higher noise levels, for example, decrease oxygen saturation (increasing need for oxygen support therapy), elevate blood pressure, increase heart and respiration rate, and worsen sleep. Research on adults and children show that noise is a major cause of awakening and sleep loss.

In addition to worsening sleep, there is strong evidence that noise increases stress in adult patients, for example, heightening blood pressure and heart rate. Environmental surfaces in hospitals are usually hard and sound-reflecting, not sound-absorbing causing noise to travel down corridors and into patient rooms. Sounds tend to echo, overlap and linger longer.

Interventions that reduce noise have been found to improve sleep and reduce patient stress. Of these, the environmental or design interventions such as changing to sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, are more successful than organizational interventions like establishing “quiet hours.”

Conclusion and Additional Information

The information contained in this excerpted report is intended as a guide for architects, specifiers, designers, facility planners, medical directors, procurers, psychologists and social workers which have a stake in providing improved facilities for behavioral healthcare patients. It is a portion of a report entitled “The Contributions of Color” authored by Tara Hill, of Little Fish Think Tank. Ms. Hill was commissioned by Norix Group Inc., in 2010 to research the role color plays in the safe operation of correctional facilities and behavioral health centers. More in-depth information specifically about the psychological influence of color and behavioral healthcare facility design can be found by reading the full report.

The Novitec Ferrari F12Berlinetta With 700+ HP and 3 Piece Wheels

In 2012, Ferrari unveiled the new F12Berlinetta super car to replace its aging Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano grand touring super car. The same front-mid engined, rear-wheel drive layout was carried over and improved upon with brand new technology, a more refined chassis, and even better performance, wrapped in a redesigned shell. With the new super car being so new to the market, there have not been any upgrade programs or modifications available for owners until Novitec Rosso introduced its new performance package with engine tuning, chassis upgrades, 3 piece wheels, and interior refinements.

Compared to its successor, the Ferrari F12Berlinetta features a larger, more powerful 6.3-liter, Uncategorizedly-aspirated V-12 engine that produces 640 horsepower. The team at Novitec Rosso thought that the factory output just wasn’t enough and developed a new set of upgrades that greatly increased power. Instead of creating an all-out engine upgrade program that modified the inside of the engine, the German tuning company focused mainly on bolt-on upgrades to send more power to the rear 3 piece wheels. The 6.3-liter engine was fitted with a new sport air intake system, a new exhaust with steering wheel-adjustable butterfly valves, and an ECU tune that optimizes the ignition, timing, fuel injection, and pushes back the engine redline to 8,900 RPM.

The result of the engine upgrades is an astonishing 763 horsepower (545 kW) at 8,500 RPM and 518 lb-ft. (703 Nm) at 6,300 RPM. This enables the Italian super car to accelerate to 62 mph in less than 3.1 seconds and reach a top speed of over 345 km/h (214 mph), making it both the fastest and most powerful Ferrari on the market.

In order to reliably be able to put all of that power to the ground without constantly losing traction, the Novitec Rosso team had to upgrade the chassis and add 3 piece wheels. For better handling and an optimum center of gravity, a set of sport springs were installed that reduce the ride height by 40 mm at the front and rear axles. A new hydraulic lift system was also installed to raise the front axle by 40 mm to overcome speed bumps and parking ramps, and automatically lowers at 80 km/h. A new set of 3 piece wheels were fitted in a 9.5J x 21 front and 12J x 22 rear staggered setup and equipped with 255/30 ZR 21 and 335/25 ZR 22 Pirelli high-performance tires to improve overall grip and handling properties.

Novitec Rosso also allows for customers to add interior options in leather, alcantara, and carbon fiber for a custom look. The exterior can be fitted with black tail lights and side markers that are the only other visual modification besides the 3 piece wheels.