How to Design Inviting Pediatric Spaces

Designing a space for young patients?


Here are a few things to keep in mind…


Hospitals are scary. As adults, we go knowing we will get help, but for younger patients, they can be daunting and a place of uncertainty. So it’s best to keep that in mind when designing these spaces.


In doing research for this blog, we’ve decided to create our own 3 key points to keep in mind:

  1. Support for the Whole Family

  2. Promoting Healing

  3. Social Networking

Support for the Whole Family

Often with younger patients, it’s not just the patient you are working with. A guardian is generally there 24/7, siblings and family members come and go, and even friends. So although the space is built and geared towards young patients, you also have to consider the fact that ages from 0 – 100 will be passing through the building at any time, and the goal is to make them all feel comfortable.


Within the hospital rooms, it is absolutely key that space is provided for not only the patient but at least one parent/guardian. But not only that, having spaces where ‘normal’ life can continue (the best it can depending on the circumstances) is key. Having places patients can go to continue their education. Places where they can play. And places where they can connect with nature. These all allow the caregivers to give young patients a routine and some sense of normalcy, making the patient more comfortable.


Promoting Healing

This is important in any design, whether it be a workplace, hospital, or restaurant. Understanding the effect design has on humans allows you to design with ease. Things like lighting, acoustics, air quality, privacy, etc. are all included in this. Another huge aspect of this is nature. Every human needs to connect with nature, specifically younger people. Nature has a huge impact on mental health and allowing young patients access to connect with it can automatically uplift their spirits!


Social Networking

And lastly, the social aspect. Another key part of the development of any child is social interaction. Having spaces that allow friends and family to gather to celebrate birthdays, or even just play is perfect in pediatric spaces. This also provides a small piece of what is normal and again gives the young patient comfort. Having play spaces where patients can interact with each other can also help.


Essentially the most important thing to keep in mind is normal life. What is a young patient losing when they are taken into the hospital for a long period of time? Try to incorporate those things into your design, as much as possible, to provide a space that is no longer daunting or scary, but inviting and calming.


References

Burgos, C. (2020, Sept. 15). Room to Grow: Designing Pediatric Spaces for Children of All Ages.

Retrieved from Medical Construction & Design: https://mcdmag.com/2020/09/room-to-grow-designing-pediatric-spaces-for-children-of-all-ages/

Zabloudil, B. (2017, May 17). Design Strategies for Pediatric Spaces.

Retrieved from HDR: https://www.hdrinc.com/ca/insights/design-strategies-pediatric-spaces

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