Study Looks At Impact of Family-Friendly Design On Dying Patients

Study Looks At Impact of Family-Friendly Design On Dying Patients

Including comfortable and functional space for visitors to gather in a hospital patient room is a priority for many design teams, but actual evidence about the effects of these efforts, a new study posits, is hard to come by.

Researchers in Denmark sought to address this gap in the study “The Impact of a Family-Friendly Hospital: A Patient Perspective,” published in Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal.

The study, authored by Dorte Buchwald, Ditte Buchwald, and Dorte Melgaard of North Denmark Regional Hospital, focused on adult cancer patients receiving end-of-life care in hospitals.

Gathering research data

Patients interviewed for the research were all parents of children aged 0-18 who were offered (and accepted) the opportunity to stay in a family-friendly room containing cozy furniture, a big-screen television, game consoles, and space for visitors to get comfortable.

The 39 participants were asked three open-ended questions: (1) How did you experience staying in the furnished room? (2) Can you tell me how your children experienced the changes? and (3) What did the new room mean for you as a family?

Importance of family space in hospitals

Analysis of the responses revealed that the family-friendly rooms made it easier for children to visit their sick parents and helped the families maintain their relationships.

“A hospitalized sick parent has a natural place in the hospital, while their family may find it hard and uncomfortable,” the study says. “The whole family experiences insecurity and anxiety during hospitalization.”

Carving out a comfortable space with activities within the room can mean the world to patients, as one father of two kids aged 10 and 13 described in his interview. “I just enjoy having them around me, even if I am resting and just listening to them,” he said.

The full study is available for Healthcare Design readers to read February 1-April 1 at this link.

For past HERD studies, read here.


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