4 Tips for Designing a Pediatric Health Unit
Children do much better in a pediatric unit created specifically for them – and when children do better, so do their families. Pediatric units are different than any other unit in your healthcare facility. After all, the tiny patients in these spaces not only require special care, but they require special design choices, too.
While it may be easy to think of unicorns and rainbows when it comes to pediatric design, there’s a fine line between childish and child-friendly. Too many childish elements could come across as disingenuous or out of touch with the younger generations. Rather, pediatric healthcare units should incite playfulness and instigate hope while also providing adequate space for the parents, guardians and loved ones who will be by these patients’ sides.
These unique units may come at a higher price for facilities to design and construct, but research shows it’s well worth the investment. Planning and design don’t have to break the bank, though – pediatric healthcare units can be developed in a cost-effective and thoughtful manner to ensure exceptional patient care and economical design.
When creating a well-planned pediatric unit, keep the following four design tips in mind:
1. Focus on positive engagement.
When in the hospital, children can quickly lose sight of the playfulness and whimsical excitement that is childhood. To help provide the best experience, facilities should implement positive distractions into their units.
Facility designers should strive to make things as normal as possible for these children. For example, positive engagements could range from outdoor play spaces to high-tech lounges for adolescents or interactive butterfly walls for the little ones. Pediatric units allow for creativity – there’s a lot of opportunity to integrate these unique (and fun!) elements.
2. Consider the family.
While the main focus of a pediatric unit is the patient, children are unique in that they often have parents or guardians who will be by their side throughout the duration of their stay. Due to this, there needs to be a great focus on family space. Families and patients should be accommodated in a comfortable and thoughtful environment.
Moreover, family spaces must also address the domestic needs of families. Due to the amount of time guests will be spending in the facilities, consider incorporating areas for cooking, laundry, bathing and even sleeping. That way, guests can maintain a comfortable routine and accomplish some of their day-to-day responsibilities as well. Other unique accommodations can include sibling lounges, complimentary Wi-Fi, meditative spaces, and public computers.
3. Support the healing environment.
The goal for any patient is to fully and progressively heal and return home. During the planning, design and construction phase of your pediatric unit, this should serve as a reminder and a reason to move forward. A well-planned healing environment for these patients could make all the difference.
Think carefully about the amount of natural light, the noise levels, the overall sense of privacy and positive distractions when designing these spaces. For children, it’s also especially important that they have access to outdoor areas. Let kids be kids and maintain their playfulness by including playgrounds or gardens outside of the hospital walls. Indoor/outdoor connections can minimize stress for children and their families, too. If possible, treatment rooms should be kept separate from patient rooms to foster healing in those spaces as well.
4. Keep safety top of mind.
While safety should be of utmost concern for all facility managers, it’s especially crucial when it involves children. Elements such as limited-access elevators, timed access cards, security cameras, alarm systems and well-defined signage should all be incorporated into all pediatric care units. Outdoor play areas should also be properly secured.
Child patients require special amenities, arrangements and care in pediatric units. By integrating unique features, emphasizing healing and focusing on positive engagement, your facility’s pediatric unit will assist in transitioning these tiny patients back into their homes in a cost-effective manner.
Medxcel enables healthcare providers to optimize their facility assets, systems and in-house capabilities, while reducing expenses. Built by and for healthcare, Medxcel’s solutions are being implemented in health facilities nationwide.