Maternity Unit Design study part 2: perceptions of space and layout

Andrew Symon, Jeanette Paul, Maggie Butchart, Val Carr, Pat Dugard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Design and use of space are critical features of contemporary healthcare facilities, but there is often pressure on available space. The drive to minimize the ‘institutional’ feel of maternity units has led to the move to make them more ‘homely’. This first of three results papers presents findings from a three-year ninesite study in England examining maternity unit design and its impact on women giving birth there. Data from a questionnaire survey of 559 mothers and 227 ward-based staff are augmented by analysis of follow-up focus groups. For mothers perceptions of spaciousness were strongly associated with overall satisfaction with surroundings and facilities (p<.01), as well as with care received (p<.01). Mothers’ perceived ability to move themselves or room furniture around during labour varied across units and was not associated with overall room size. Among midwives the belief that they provided good quality care was moderately correlated with positive responses concerning ward layout (p<.01) and a comfortable working environment (p<.01).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)110-114
    Number of pages5
    JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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