Children are inherently different from adults, which is why they need healthcare that is specially catered to their adolescent minds and bodies. For hospital designers, this means creating facilities that are specifically designed to cater to this demographic. Everything from the layout to the aesthetics and functionality of specific rooms will change when designing a pediatrics facility.
Hospital design has been proven to be a key factor in reducing anxiety in pediatric patients, and many evidence-based best practices have become essential for facilities to include in their environment. When designing pediatric faculties, modern designers are focusing on a few areas.
Designing for All Age Groups
Arguably the greatest struggle in pediatric facility design is creating an environment that is suitable for all children. The psychology and emotional maturity among children of different age groups are vastly different; the mind of a toddler is far removed from that of a 10-year old, and the brain changes even more once children reach their teenage years. Yet designers have to create any environment that is suitable for all children, whether they seventeen months or seventeen years old.
Many facilities have found that design schemes based around nature are the key to creating an environment that is relaxing and uplifting for all age groups. No matter the age, children feel welcome in facilities that feature murals of animals, plants and colors found in nature.
In order to provide the flexibility needed to place children of any gender and any age in any room, facilities are choosing gender neutral colors for walls, furniture and equipment. While it may seem more friendly to colorize or create themes rooms based on heavy blues and pinks, facilities then run the risk of running out of “boy” or “girl” rooms.
Among the top complaints patients have are sleep interruptions and noise disruptions at night. While it’s impossible to block all sources of noise and disruption, designers are placing noise reducing ceiling tiles, doors and wall panels in an effort to reduce the transfer of noise to other rooms and areas of the facility. These can be incorporated into design elements that match the theme, such as including acoustic panels in the shape of trees, leaves, etc.
Design for Distraction
Children of all ages become restless, especially during prolonged hospital stays, which is why facilities find it helpful to include as many positive distractions as possible. Play and activity areas filled with games and toys will help keep young children busy, while the inclusion of televisions in every patient room will help keep older children occupied during their stay.
Do Not Forget Patient Families
While pediatric facilities are specially designed to treat children, their design must not exclude the parents who will be staying with them. Unlike general care facilities, where visitors often come and go, pediatric facilities often have the parents of children by their side for the entirety of the stay. More importantly for facilities: these parents are also the ones who are in charge of filling out HCAHPS surveys, so designing with them in mind is essential to obtaining reimbursements and positive ratings. If possible, each room should be equipped with a spare bed and livable space where parents can be comfortable during their entire stay.
Whiteboard Design for Pediatric Facilities
At VividBoard, we have worked with pediatric facilities across the country to help them design custom whiteboards that fit their specialized pediatric environments. Want to see the finished product? Read our case study featuring Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Meyers Florida.