Patients at the centre of hospital design

A large reception area with soft seating in the new hospital.
Image courtesy Halkin Mason in FastCompany article

No-one wants to go to hospital, either as a patient or a visitor. But thoughtful design can improve the experience. This is especially the case in hospital wards where children are very unwell. Putting families and patients at the centre of hospital design makes for a more welcoming place. 

An article in FastCompany tells how the architect went about putting families and patients at the centre of design. A design committee made up of families of patients acted as an advisory group. Parents whose babies and children experienced long-term hospital stays were consulted. Useful information emerged such as the distance to bathrooms and the lack of privacy for dying children.

The feedback was instrumental in guiding the final design. For example, the devastating experience of watching child die in an open ICU bay led to having only private rooms. Doctors’ experiences with over-stimulated children guided colour and lighting choices. Natural light and access to outdoor spaces were also essential. 

The end result was not perfect, but the participatory design process made the hospital a better place. Clinical staff also informed the design process and made them think about the way they deliver care. 

The article is titled, See inside a hospital designed by patients, and has several highlight the design ideas. 

A related article is the presentation by Stefano Scalzo at UD2021 Conference.