Long recognizing the limitations of the typical institutional model of psychiatric care, the 178-year-old Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric hospital in Brattleboro, Vt., has patterned itself on the idea that the physical design of psychiatric facilities and their surrounding grounds is an essential element in the therapeutic process.
However, recent changes taking place in healthcare overall have also inspired design projects for the organization. Due to reform and parity laws, access to care is anticipated to rise, and health insurers are now required to provide comparable benefits for both medical/surgical care and mental healthcare. In response, the Retreat has worked to expand services and modernize its facility. Many of its inpatient clinical areas have been transformed into inviting and healing spaces that normalize care for those suffering from psychiatric illness and/or addiction.