Technological advancements in diagnosis and treatment have led to a new perspective on hospital design. What were once thought of as utilitarian facilities have been recast as critical partners in humanizing the patient experience. Incorporating family into the healing process is most evident in the patient room environment; the most patient-centered area within a modern healthcare setting.
Patient and Family-Centered Care places an emphasis on collaborating with patients and families of all ages, at all levels of care, and in all healthcare settings. Further, it acknowledges that families are essential to patients' health and well being. It acknowledges that emotional, social, and developmental support are all integral components of health care. The goal is to promote the health and well-being of individuals and families and to restore a sense of dignity, a sense of place and control over their environment.
When the family is treated as an ally and their presence is supported by hospital and staff, both patient and caregiver gain an invaluable partner and collaborator. As a team: family, patient and care-giver can facility, what are usually extremely difficult decisions, into a streamlined healthcare plan. This model of care has the power to shape policies, programs, facility design, culture and day to day staff interactions.
Array works closely with the hospital staff and Family Advisory Groups to ensure that family-centered care principles are incorporated in every project. Examples include appropriately-sized family sleeping areas in patient rooms, allocation of space for family gatherings outside of the patient room, resource centers, thoughtful layout of nursing units to accommodate families on the inpatient floor and a welcoming gallery entryway into the Unit that echoes a sense of home and hope.
A sleeper sofa in the patient’s room provides family members their own space while still incorporating them into the healing process. Custom and integrated items such as a desk, shelving for personal effects and dimmable lights relieve stress and increase the comfort of both the patient and family members.
When size doesn't permit a sleeper sofa, recliners work as an effective solution to provide family members with their own space to support the patient’s healing process.
Viewing families as allies for quality and safety, and supporting their presence and collaboration in care and decision-making is an approach to healthcare that shapes policies, programs, facility design, and staff day-to-day interactions.
Emily Posey was formerly an Interior Designer with Array Architects.