In the 19th century, many hospitals were built by religious groups, and commonly contained chapels that resembled the churches or synagogues of specific denominations. However, as hospitals nationwide are beginning to take their religiously diverse patients and staff into account, hospitals are getting more creative and building multifaith meditation and quiet spaces.
Some interfaith meditation rooms, like one of the Sacramento facilities, use neutral and non-denominational symbols. Across town, another Kaiser Permanente facility chose dozens of symbols which represent a plethora of different religious traditions to adorn their multifaith meditation space. Both methods create an inclusive space.
That’s not to say that the design of multifaith meditation or quiet rooms can’t be tricky – some administrators worry that stripping the rooms of all icons and symbols won’t actually increase the room’s use, but will actually make many feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar space.
Photo Credit: Joe Schlabotnik