Healtcare Construction + Operations News | Design for Patients, by Patients

Design for Patients, by Patients

Haley Driscoll, August 1, 2013 Download PDF

Health care designers and planners have a special task: creating spaces that soften the hospital treatment process and promote a healing environment for patients. Facilitating healing through design requires careful planning and research. How better to conduct this research than to consult the patients themselves?

On three recent health care projects, the Francis Cauffman health care design team, with offices in New York City, did just that. Through personal meetings, focus groups, roundtable discussions and widely distributed surveys, designers were able to grasp a more precise, first-hand understanding of the patient experience by speaking with past patients of each facility. Patients often approached these meetings as though given the opportunity to express their "ultimate wish lists," suggesting amenities like heated massage chairs, iPads, storage for personal belongings and concierge services for food delivery. They also frequently emphasized the importance of choice; being able to control their treatment environment helped them regain the sense of empowerment they lost after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. These intimate conversations were poignant for the team and allowed them to speak directly to patient needs in their designs, which incorporated specifications and suggestions gleaned from the pre-design meetings.

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