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The Safety Sensescaping project, funded by WorkSafe’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund, is part of Peninsula Health’s Thriving in Health program, which aims to create safe and mentally healthy environments for healthcare workers to thrive in.

Project lead and RMIT Senior Lecturer Dr Olivier Cotsaftis worked with doctors, nurses and non-clinicians at Peninsula Health for three years to understand the psychosocial hazards in their workplace and find design-led solutions to prevent mental injury.

Cotsaftis said hospital scrubs were an unconscious source of stress for many healthcare workers.

Designed according to the standard male or female body, scrubs do not typically accommodate the wide range of body shapes and sizes.

Scrubs are also often made from scratchy synthetic materials, which can cause the wearer to overheat quickly.


The Safety Sensescaping Project is an innovative initiative that aims to address mental injury risks faced by healthcare workers through effective design solutions. This project recognizes the significant toll medical care can take on healthcare professionals’ mental well-being and aims to create supportive environments to prevent mental health challenges. In partnership with healthcare facilities, the project employs principles of empathic design to ensure that hospital settings are conducive to mental well-being for patients and staff.

Through the Safety Sensescaping Project, a multidisciplinary team collaborates to analyze the existing healthcare environment and identify potential stressors. Utilizing this data, they implement targeted design changes to alleviate stress and promote healing spaces. Examples of interventions may include redesigning patient rooms to enhance privacy and comfort, integrating calming elements like natural lighting and greenery, and implementing dedicated spaces for relaxation and meditation.

The Safety Sensescaping Project is a crucial step toward acknowledging the importance of mental health support within the healthcare system, as it recognizes that even healthcare providers can struggle with mental health challenges stemming from their profession’s demands.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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