Medical Construction & Design

MAR-APR 2018

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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MCDM AG.COM | M A RCH /A PR IL 2018 | Medical Construction & Design 31 potentially reducing the time for a patient to meet with their healthcare professional, or missing an appointment altogether. Common culprits are obscured signs, language barriers or insuffi cient signage throughout the building. To address this, hospitals are incorporating concepts used by major sports stadiums and arenas using environmental graphics. This approach in- corporates organizational branding or mes- saging into overall design of the building and can present meaningful engagement opportunities with patients and healthcare consumers. Strategies should focus on regional or cultural themes, color, bilingual copy, pictograms and other graphics on a larger scale that resonate with community culture and create an instinctual naviga- tional experience in an otherwise unfamil- iar healthcare environment. Empowering individuals Family centered care is about empowering individuals to advocate for their health. The four principles of this method are respect, information sharing, participation and col- laboration. When a patient arrives for treat- ment or consultation, there are multiple ways the building can promote patient- or family centered care. Designers following the model for enhanced family care will improve occupants' experiences by increas- ing access to information and providing for inclusion and accommodation for the fam- ily. For example, a patient and their family members should have clear focus with little to no distraction when listening to their diagnosis or treatment options. Means by which designers can alleviate stress are being embraced by the communi- ty care clinic concept. At the Central Health Southeast Health and Wellness Center in Austin, Texas, staff recognized that lack of access to childcare was an obstacle to re- ceiving healthcare. To address that, design of the facility included free, onsite daycare to allow patients and their families to have quiet, focused conversations, centered on the medical issue. While patients see their doctor, other family members navigate a host of services within the building, com- pletely breaking the mold for what patients have come to expect of a community clinic. A highly visible walking track and outdoor garden are examples of attractions that promote health and learning in a social context. Upon receiving a type II diabetes diagnosis, clinic visitors can sign up for free, health-positive cooking classes in an onsite demonstration kitchen that same day. In this scenario, a trip to the doctor has evolved from a source of anxiety set in unfamiliar surroundings, to a family destination equipped with multiple experiences to promote well- being. The community wellness center has made a name for itself for bringing care, information and instruction to the family and community-at-large. Family inclusion Larger facility design focused only on deliv- ery of care may neglect visitors who often spend days in the company of the patient. Parents, guardians and family members may fi nd that the hospital has become their second home while their loved one faces a medical intervention. At University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, the newly renovated pediatric cardiac care unit es- tablished family inclusion as a central goal. When the patient room becomes the center of a family's life, such intense focus over an extended period places additional strain on a family. In the PCCU, special attention was paid by the hospital administration to cre- ate spaces for families to relax. To off er a reprieve from the treatment emphasis, family spaces were designed to simulate residential environments that support typi- cal behaviors that take place in the home. A lounge provides a living room atmosphere for families to watch TV, read and unwind together. Adjacent to the living room is a kitchen with laundry facilities and sleeping rooms that resemble a hotel rather than the less comfortable hospital sleeping rooms of the past. Another multipurpose feature is a library/research suite. With computer stations and soft seating, visiting family can comfortably research and learn more about how to become an advocate for their child's health, or meet with doctors and family members for consultation and information sharing. Parents away from work can use the library as a remote offi ce or, for younger patients and siblings, a place to keep up with schoolwork. A colorful playroom not only helps young patients focus on creativ- ity, it entertains younger visitors during their hours in the unit. In this way, the built space is facilitating not only healthcare, but normal family interaction, which itself is healing. A healthcare facility is a community asset. Architects and designers, mindful of the long-term benefi ts to the community- at-large, should look for opportunities for the building to support the family cen- tered care approach. By relying on proven research, designers can show evidence that implementation of progressive care models will improve the well-being of the com- munity, access to care and may reduce the costs and need for healthcare intervention in the future. Jennifer Hoskins, IIDA, LEED AP, is senior interior designer at O'Connell Robertson. Clockwise from top: Environmental graphics and signage support wayfi nding in this waiting area at the Central Health Southeast Health and Wellness Center in Austin, Texas. > A sleeping room in the pediatric cardiac care unit at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas provides respite for families staying with their child in the hospital over extended periods of time. > Art and imagery with regional cultural relevance create a welcoming and familiar environment for patients and visitors. > Nurses' station in the pediatric cardiac care unit at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas offers visual control of the patient hallway and fi ngertip access to technology and equipment.

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